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Use budgetary allocation for vaccine purchase: Opposition leaders write to PM

COVID-19. Photo: Miguel Á. Padriñán/ Pixabay

New Delhi, May 12 (MNN) With India grappling with the second wave of coronavirus pandemic, leaders of major opposition parties on Wednesday advised Prime Minister Narendra Modi to take certain steps imperative in the given situation, including a universal vaccination drive and use of Rs 35,000 crore budgetary provision for the same.

In their joint letter to the Prime Minister, these 12 leader said that they were of the firm opinion that certain measures must be undertaken on a war footing by his government as the pandemic had assumed “unprecedented dimensions of a human catastrophe”.

The signatories included Congress President Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda (JD-S), Sharad Pawar (NCP) Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), MK Stalin (DMK), Hemant Soren (JMM), Farooq Abdullah (JKNC), Akhilesh Yadav (SP), Tejashwi Yadav (RJD), Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M) and D Raja (CPI).

They demanded that the vaccines should be procured centrally from all available sources, whether global and domestic.

They said a free, universal mass vaccination campaign should immediately be launched across the country and compulsory licensing be invoked to expand domestic vaccine production.

They demanded spending of budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for the vaccines and a stop on the construction of the Central Vista project in Delhi.

“Use the allocated money for procuring oxygen and vaccines, instead. Release all money held in the unaccounted private trust fund, PM-Cares, to buy more vaccines, oxygen and medical equipment required,” they said in the letter.

They also demanded all jobless be given at least Rs 6,000 per month apart from free food grains to the needy, while pointing out that over one crore tonnes of food grains were rotting in central godowns.

They also demanded a repeal of the three controversial farm laws to protect lakhs of farmers from falling victims to the pandemic.

“We have in the past repeatedly drawn your attention, independently and jointly, to various measures that are absolutely imperative for the central government to undertake and implement.

“Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy,” the opposition leader wrote.

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