Jharkhand CM: Covid-19 a national problem, but states left to themselves

The Central government has taken control of almost all critical issues related to management of the Covid-19 pandemic: allocation of oxygen, medical equipment, and vaccines, Soren claimed. “But we are not getting what is needed, be it vaccines, or medicines,” he said.

JHARKHAND Chief Minister Hemant Soren Saturday said the Centre is neither treating Covid-19 as a “nationwide problem” nor listening to states’ demands or giving them the flexibility to tackle the situation as per their wisdom.

In an interview to The Sunday Express from his residence in Ranchi, Soren said, “Is this a national pandemic or a state-centric problem? The Centre has neither left it to us to handle the situation, nor is it handling it properly… We don’t get to import medicines because the Centre does not give permission, but somehow it manages to import whenever it likes.”

The Central government has taken control of almost all critical issues related to management of the Covid-19 pandemic: allocation of oxygen, medical equipment, and vaccines, Soren claimed. “But we are not getting what is needed, be it vaccines, or medicines,” he said.

For instance, the Chief Minister said Jharkhand needed about 3.5-4 crore doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for its people. “But we have received only 40 lakh so far… Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation, despite being a civic body, can float a global tender for vaccinating Mumbai citizens… it has a huge budget. But Jharkhand cannot,” he said.

“Hamara toh vaccine kharidne mein diwaliya nikal jayega (If we have to buy all the vaccines we need, we will be bankrupt),” Soren said. “States have been left to get vaccines on their own. How can we manage it? Why is the Centre comparing Jharkhand with Maharashtra or Tamil Nadu. Our budget is very small,” he pointed out.

When asked about his tweet earlier this month about the Prime Minister only talking and not listening, Soren said Modi spoke for a short while that evening, and no sooner the conversation ended, it was publicised on television. “It was more politics… that he has completed the formalities by talking to CMs,” he said.

He said, given the situation today, he didn’t want to pick a fight with anyone. “We may belong to different political parties, or be of different ideologies. But now is not the time to fight. At present, a boat is stuck in the middle of the ocean. First let us bring the boat ashore. Then we can fight,” he said.

Soren said it was ‘not just the opposition’ that should ask questions of the Central government about its mismanagement of the Covid-19 situation. “Those in power and position too should question the Centre’s mishandling of the second surge… Those supporting the ruling party as well as the opposition parties have died…,” he said.

The Chief Minister said the Centre needs to tell the country what is happening with the PM CARES fund. “Thousands of crores have been collected under PM CARES. There should be transparency. They should give an account of all this to the country,” he said.

The Chief Minister has been critical of the Centre in the past too, including handling of migrant workers. On May 7, he had tweeted, “Adarniya Pradhan Mantriji ji ne phone kiya. Unhone sirf apne mann ki baat ki. Behtar hota agar wo kaam ki baat karte aur kaam ki baat sunte (Respected Prime Minister called. He just spoke what was on his mind. It would have been better had he spoken on issues of importance and listened to the other side).”

Source: Read Full Article