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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

KCR govt frowns as Governor questions state’s Covid response

According to sources, the Telangana government has been wary of Soundararajan questioning officials on various issues.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad | Updated: July 9, 2020 2:18:47 pm
Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan

Amid a spike in Covid-19 cases in Telangana, Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan’s move to directly reach out to people and her statements that she is not happy with the state’s response has not gone down well with the K Chandrashekar Rao government, according to sources.

Last week, after allegations of patients being overcharged or turned away by private hospitals started coming in, Soundararajan, a gynaecologist herself, called Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Special Chief Secretary (Health) Shanti Kumari to Raj Bhavan on Monday for a discussion.

The officials, however, cited prior engagements and skipped the meeting. Not to be deterred, Soundararajan scheduled a video conference Tuesday morning with the top management of several super-speciality hospitals, including a few accused of overcharging patients, and gave them a piece of her mind, a Raj Bhavan official said.

The Governor also took to Twitter and started interacting with people, and soon complaints of negligence, overcharging, and non-availability of beds started pouring in. The Governor sought details like the patient’s name and the nearest hospital and asked her office to follow up on the cases instead of directing them to government officials concerned.

Two hours later, Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Special Chief Secretary (Health) Shanti Kumari reached the Raj Bhavan to discuss the Governor’s concerns.

Also, since Tuesday evening, several TRS ministers were seen responding quickly to messages and videos posted by people seeking admission in government or private hospitals.

According to sources, the Telangana government has been wary of Soundararajan questioning officials on various issues. Her background as the BJP’s national secretary and president of its Tamil Nadu unit has also contributed to the uneasy relationship between the government and the Raj Bhavan, the sources said.

On June 10, she issued a statement that she was unhappy with the state government’s handling of the Covid-19 crisis. She expressed concerns over low testing and ticked off the government for not responding to her requests for data.

On June 16, as Covid cases started spiking in Hyderabad, the Governor held a video discussion with a group of prominent citizens, including a former health secretary, a former DGP, members of Indian Medical Association, researchers and people who had recovered from Covid-19. “The discussion was about the Corona situation in the state and how it was being handled and what steps needed to be taken, and it did not go down well with Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao The CM was also unhappy with the Governor’s statements,’’ an official said.

Following her statements, BJP chief J P Nadda criticised the state government. “The CM and ministers are concerned but as of now they don’t want to say anything openly,’’ a senior TRS leader said.

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