Pune city MP Girish Bapat raised the issue of rapidly increasing Covid-19 cases in the district in Parliament on Sunday and urged the Union government to send a task force to help check the spread of the infection. NCP MP Amol Kolhe, meanwhile, alleged that the BJP-led central government has discontinued supply of essential medical equipment to Maharashtra.
Raising the serious pandemic situation in Pune, Bapat said every day, the district reported 1,000-1,500 new cases and 70-90 deaths. “Local residents are very scared… The district is leading in many sectors but does not want to be the one leading in Covid-19 infections. The state government has appointed 20 IAS officers for containment of the disease, but there is lack of coordination among them,” he said during his speech in the Lok Sabha.
Bapat said there was a shortage of ventilators, oxygen beds and ambulances, while the appointed officers have not been able to handle the situation effectively. “I request the Union government to send a task force to the city to assist in controlling the spread of the infection,” he said.
NCP MP Amol Kolhe, who represents Shirur constituency in Pune district, parts of which are within city limits, accused the Union government of meting out “wrong treatment” towards Maharashtra, the state worst hit by the pandemic.
The pandemic situation in the country has worsened since the first case was identified, he said. “The Union government is patting its back over the low rate of infection and deaths but it should not be forgotten that over 87,000 citizens have lost their lives due to the viral infection so far. This does not include the deaths of migrant labourers losing their lives while walking back to their hometowns and a large number of suicides,” said Kolhe.
“The citizens want the Union government to explain the delay in handling the pandemic situation as it was busy in welcoming the US President and pulling down governments of other political parties in various states. It was the lack of foresightedness to carry out RT-PCR tests, in the early stages, of every person coming here from a foreign country,” said Kolhe.
The NCP leader said that Maharashtra was the worst affected state, accounting for 22 per cent of patients and 37 per cent deaths in the country. The World Health Organisation has alerted that the situation might worsen further in November-December, he said.
“Unfortunately, since September 1, the Union government has stopped providing PPE kits, ventilators, N95 masks and testing kits. The government at the Centre is mistreating the state. Are the residents of Maharashtra not citizens of the country? I urge the Union government to help the state government, and also enable setting up of a major oxygen manufacturing unit for supply of oxygen to meet the needs of patients,” he said.
Meanwhile, during the PMC’s general body meeting on Monday, the ruling BJP and the opposition parties NCP, Congress, Shiv Sena and MNS clashed on the issue. While corporators of opposition parties sought a discussion on the Covid-19 situation in the city, alleging there was complete mismanagement leading to increase in cases and deaths, and shortage of medical facilities to treat the patients, the ruling BJP refused, saying it would be improper to hold a discussion when the state government has not given permission to hold discussions during the meeting. The general body was adjourned without any discussion.
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