Chidambaram for CAG-driven audit on vaccines

“The mystery of the ‘missing vaccines’ is deepening every day”, he says

Former Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday demanded a Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG)-driven audit of vaccine production and supply in the country to unravel the ‘mystery of missing vaccines’ before public anger hits the streets.

In a separate Facebook post, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra alleged that the oxygen shortage that the country had seen last month and earlier this month is the result of Narendra Modi government’s “lack of planning, incompetence and a 700 % increase in the export of oxygen in 2020”.

In tweets, Mr. Chidambaram said, “The mystery of the “missing vaccines” is deepening every day. The statement of Bharat Biotech about the ‘lead time’ required to produce a batch of vaccines has added to the confusion. We understand that ‘capacity’ is one thing and ‘production’ is a different thing. What we would like to know is the actual quantity produced so far by the two domestic manufacturers. Once we know the actual production so far, we should be told what has been supplied date-wise and to whom?”

Welcoming announcements made by corporates like the Reliance Group, HCL and others to vaccinate their employees, their families and business partners, he said,“State governments are not able to get supplies from any manufacturer — domestic or foreign. So, from where do the corporates expect to get their supplies?”

“The proper thing to do is direct a CAG driven full-scope audit of capacity, production, despatch, supply and customers’ lists of the two domestic manufacturers. Better unravel the mystery of the missing vaccines now before public anger over shortage of vaccines pours into the streets,” he added.

Talking abuut oxygen shortage, Ms. Vadra’s FB post asked who was responsible for a situation that saw many dying “gasping for air and without access to the most basic of medical facilities”.

Priyanka on oxygen issue

She said even at the height of the second wave, hospitals across the country required 8,944 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen a day while India produced 7,500 MT a day.

“Who is responsible for the lack of oxygen in hospitals across India”she asked, adding, “The Modi Government increased its oxygen exports by over 700 % in the year 2020, a pandemic year. Most of this supply went to Bangladesh”.

She accused the Modi government of doing nothing to increase the specialised cryogenic tankers (estimated to be around 1200-1600) between the two COVID-19 waves, ignoring suggestions of its own Empowered Group-VI and not acting on the warnings given about by the Parliamentary Standing Committee about the need to increase oxygen supply.

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