Covid crisis: Mamata Banerjee reminds Narendra Modi of jab stupor in February 24
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee has reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi that she had requested his intervention as early as on February 24 to allow Bengal to purchase vaccines directly with state resources and give free vaccination to the people of the state.
“No response was received from your end,” Mamata wrote to Modi on Tuesday, a day after the Centre changed its policy on vaccines.
“I am informed that the central government has announced the much-delayed ‘universal’ vaccine policy… which appears to be hollow… and a regrettable show of evasion of responsibility by the central government at the time of crisis,” Mamata said.
“Now when the number of cases in the second wave of Covid is spiralling like anything, the Centre has chosen to tactically indulge in empty rhetoric….”
Mamata added in the letter that the Centre was shying away from “its responsibility for making available vaccines to the people of the country”.
In her one-page letter, Mamata told Modi that his government’s Monday announcement lacked several key elements.
“The announcement does not address major issues like ensuring the quality, efficacy, stable flow of supply of required number of vaccines by the manufacturers and also the price at which vaccines are to be purchased by the states,” wrote Mamata.
She expressed apprehension over how the announced policy could lead to unscrupulous mechanisms in the market, including pricing of vaccines, as it appears to be based on market prices.
This “may put the common people under huge financial burden”, she wrote.
“More important, the supply would also become very erratic because the vaccine manufacturers are hardly prepared to scale up their production capacities to the desired levels to meet the nationwide demand,” read the letter, adding that the required vaccines are not currently available in the market.
“In sum, I would earnestly request you to kindly ensure a fair, transparent and credible vaccination policy addressing all the issues outlined above, which would enable the people of the country to get vaccines urgently at affordable prices as per current scale as applicable,” Mamata conveyed to Modi.