BJP accuses Punjab govt of profiteering from vaccination

·3-min read

New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) The BJP on Friday alleged that the Congress government in Punjab is profiteering from COVID-19 vaccination by selling vaccine doses procured under state quota to private hospitals at higher rates.

Referring to media reports, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said the Punjab government got over 1.40 lakh doses of Covaxin at Rs 400 each.

And, it gave some of the vaccines to 20 private hospitals at Rs 1,000 each, he alleged.

'It's dangerous news... The state government wants to make a profit from the vaccination. What kind of government is this?' he told a press conference here at the BJP headquarters.

Javadekar also targeted Rahul Gandhi on the issue, saying the Congress leader, instead of giving lectures to others, should first consider how to set things right in place in the state ruled by his party.

'I would suggest to Rahul that instead of giving lectures to others, he should first think how works can be done properly in his state,' he said.

The senior BJP leader said the Centre has so far given a total of 22 crore vaccines to the states free-of-cost.

'They (Punjab government) should pay attention to their management so that people of Punjab get relief. This is the demand and expectation of the people today,' he added.

Later in the day, Punjab's Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu told media that he has ordered a probe into the Opposition's allegations that the state government has been diverting Covid vaccines to private hospitals.

Sidhu made the statement when he was specifically asked about the allegations.

'What I have learnt through media, I have already ordered for a probe and we will order a proper inquiry. We will keep the issue before the chief minister,' he said.

Without going into the specifics of the allegations, the health minister said he will first wait for the entire picture to emerge.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) had on Thursday accused the Amarinder Singh government of diverting Covid vaccines to private hospitals at hefty margins .

SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal, in a statement, had alleged that vaccine doses were not available in the state but they were being sold to private institutions instead of being given free-of-cost to the common man.

Latching on to the issue, Javadekar also took a swipe at the Congress over its internal fight in Punjab and asked whether the party was committed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

'Today, the entire (Congress) party and the government of Punjab are in Delhi. Who will look after Punjab? Ignoring Punjab for their internal fight. This is a big sin of Congress,' he said.

This came after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh met a three-member committee, set up by the Congress high command to resolve infighting in the party's state unit, at All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters here.

The three-member panel is headed by the Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge and has AICC secretary general in-charge of Punjab Harish Rawat and former MP J P Aggarwal as its other members.

Singh had arrived in the national capital on Thursday. Javadekar said while Punjab is badly hit by the pandemic, there is no proper management of inoculation drive in the state. The state government is also not paying adequate attention to testing and other measures that need to be taken to contain the spread, he alleged.

'For the last six months, an internal fight has been going on (within the Congress in Punjab),' he said.

Singh and his former cabinet colleague Navjot Singh Sidhu are engaged in a bitter war of words. Sidhu has publicly attacked the chief minister over an SIT report on the sacrilege issue in Punjab. PTI PK ZMN

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