Ensure Oxygen, Free Vaccines
IN the background of the ravaging pandemic and stories of helplessness in getting vaccines, oxygen beds, medicines, Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of the CPI(M) wrote a letter to the prime minister on April 24, 2021 demanding his immediate intervention.
Below we present the text of the letter:
I am writing to you in great pain, distress, and anguish. This unprecedented health and humanitarian crisis created by the second wave of Covid-19 is turning into a tsunami. The situation has been aggravated by the approach and attitude of the union government. This is not the time to go into those details as we mourn the deaths of thousands of our beloved fellow Indians which were very much preventable.
I am writing to you on an urgent basis to ensure two things on utmost priority: ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen to all hospitals and patients across the country by procuring it at any cost; and provide vaccines to all the state governments for a free and universal vaccination programme, bringing production of Indian vaccines under emergency provisions and importing from all available sources to prevent more deaths.
I understand that there may be financial considerations in taking these decisions. Immediately, spend the budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crores for the vaccination programme. I, implore you to forthwith cancel the project for the construction of the new Central Vista in Delhi, put on hold all extravagant expenditures and transparently release all the money collected under PM-CARES fund and transfer the same for the supply of oxygen and vaccines.
In case you are unable to provide oxygen and vaccines to our fellow Indians and prevent further deaths, your government will lose its moral authority to continue. This health and humanitarian disaster is preventable and must be averted. This is the basic responsibility your government has to discharge, which it has failed to do so far.”