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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

BMC seeks vaccines from Mumbai’s 6 sister cities, ‘ready to pay in advance’

There are 15 sister cities of Mumbai – Berlin, Los Angeles, St Petersburg, Stuttgart, Yokohama, Honolulu, New York, Zagreb, Barcelona, Busan, Port of Odesa, Jakarta, Nadi, Antananarivo and Shanghai.

By: Express News Service | Mumbai |
Updated: May 29, 2021 2:35:28 am
Kerala, Mumbai, Indian students abroad, students vaccination, Kerala students vaccination, Mumbai students vaccination, covid-19 vaccination, coronavirus vaccine, india news, indian expressThe BMC has offered that it will pay for the vaccines in advance. (Express Photo by Amit Chakravarty)

With the vaccine crunch hampering Mumbai’s inoculation drive, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has written to the city’s six sister cities abroad seeking help and access to Covid-19 vaccines.

‘Sister cities” is an agreement between towns, cities and even counties in geographically and politically distinct areas, to promote cultural and commercial ties.

There are 15 sister cities of Mumbai – Berlin, Los Angeles, St Petersburg, Stuttgart, Yokohama, Honolulu, New York, Zagreb, Barcelona, Busan, Port of Odesa, Jakarta, Nadi, Antananarivo and Shanghai.

To meet the demand of 18 million vaccine doses for the city, Chahal has written to the mayors of Yokohama in Japan, Busan in South Korea, Los Angeles and New York in the US, Stuttgart in Germany and St Petersburg in Russia.

The BMC has offered that it will pay for the vaccines in advance. The six letters written on May 25 stated, “Being a Sister City of Mumbai, may I humbly request your goodself to help and provide access to vaccine for Mumbai City. We are ready to pay the necessary charges well in advance. Please let us know the availability of the vaccine along with its cost and bank details for depositing the requisite amount of money, Mumbai as a Sister City will surely acknowledge your favour for the same.”

“Mumbai is currently facing the second wave of Covid pandemic and compared to the first wave the Covid infection, intensity and spread is comparatively higher,” it added.

Chahal also noted that while Mumbai’s population is 16 million, 9 million people are above 18 years of age and are eligible for vaccination. Thus, Mumbai needs approximately 18 million doses to vaccinate its eligible population.

The letter further mentioned that vaccination in Mumbai had started on January 16, and since then, over 3 million people have been vaccinated. The letter noted that a third wave of Covid-19 is expected to hit the city between July and August, and to avoid the severity of the infection, vaccination is very important.

Meanwhile, in response to the global vaccine tender floated by BMC, the civic body is now left with seven proposals with all firms saying they can facilitate the supply of Russian Sputnik V and Sputnik V Light. A Romanian firm that said it would provide Pfizer vaccines had withdrawn its bid on Thursday after Pfizer said it had no authorised agents.

The BMC and the Maharashtra government have written to Russian Direct Investment Fund for direct procurement of vaccines but are yet to receive any response.

In Mumbai, two collaborative projects between sister cities have been implemented till now. A Japanese-style garden was developed by Yokohama in Byculla zoo in exchange for animals such as lions, crocodiles and baby elephants, which were given by BMC to the Yokohama City Council.

The second project was a municipal school in Matunga that has been adopted by Los Angeles.

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