Ludhiana (Punjab) [India], June 5 (ANI): As opposition has been targeting Punjab government for allegedly diverting its vaccine stocks to private hospitals at a marked-up price, the BJP on Saturday slammed Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and State Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu for putting public health at stake by selling vaccines to private hospitals as "a means of filling their pockets and treasury".
Addressing a press conference here, BJP's state chief spokesperson Anil Sarin in Ludhiana, said, "On one hand where the Modi government is providing the vaccine free of cost to secure the lives of all citizens, at the same time, the Congress government of Punjab has made it a means of earning for itself."
"Captain Amarinder Singh and State Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu have made public health at stake by selling corona Vaccine to private hospitals as a means of filling their pockets and treasury,' he added.
Earlier on Friday, the Punjab government withdrew its earlier order of providing "one-time" limited vaccine doses to the 18-44 age group population through private hospitals after allegations by opposition of "diverting" Covaxin doses at "hefty margins", sparked a row.
A brief letter - signed by Vikas Garg, the state-in-charge for vaccination - said the order "has not been taken in the right spirit and is hereby withdrawn".
Reacting to this, Sarin said that instead of providing free vaccination to the citizens to prevent the spread of virus, the Punjab government was "trying to fill the pauperized treasury of the state".
"Instead of providing free vaccination to the citizens to prevent the corona epidemic, the Punjab government was trying to fill the pauperized treasury of the state by selling the vaccine purchased for Rs 400 to the private hospitals of the state at a wholesale price of Rs 1,060. On the other hand, the COVID vaccine is not available in government hospitals and the public is stumbling from rate to rate for the vaccine,' said Sarin.
"Even the private hospitals are openly robbing the public by selling the said corona vaccine for Rs 1,560,' he added.
Sarin alleged that recently the Punjab government has sold about 80,000 vaccine doses to private hospitals at a price of Rs 1,060, while people reaching government hospitals to get the vaccine are being returned citing lack of vaccine.
Discussing the COVID mismanagement of the Congress government of the state, the BJP leader said that even the 809 ventilators sent by the Central government to save the COVID patients were not used properly by the Punjab government.
Earlier, Sidhu while responding to allegations by the opposition about COVID-19 vaccines being sold to private hospitals by the state government for profit, assured that he will definitely initiate an inquiry, the minister on Saturday stated that private hospitals have been instructed to return all vaccine doses available to them. (ANI)