Khattar inaugurates 500-bed COVID hospital in Hisar amid protest by farmers

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Hisar, May 16 (PTI) Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Sunday inaugurated a 500-bed COVID hospital here and said his government is committed to expand the healthcare facilities in the sate amid the raging pandemic.

Earlier, a group of farmers tried to move towards the venue where Khattar was to inaugurate the hospital but they were dispersed by police by using force and lobbying tear gas shells.

Khattar said with the inauguration of the Chaudhary Devi Lal Sanjivani COVID hospital, not only the coronavirus patients of Hisar district but the people of nearby districts would be able to get the required treatment at the facility.

On April 26, Khattar had visited Hisar and identified the campus of Jindal Modern School adjoining Jindal Stainless Limited unit and after completing all the necessary procedures, the hospital was constructed in a record 17 days time, an official statement said.

“In this difficult time of COVID-19 pandemic, this hospital is certainly a boon for COVID-19 patients as it has adequate availability of beds and oxygen,” it said “The hospital will directly get about eight metric tonnes of oxygen supply from Jindal Stainless Limited, which will be available at 7.1 liters per minute per bed. It is proposed that no fee would be charged from the patients who will come to get treatment in this hospital,” the statement said.

Khattar said the Haryana government is constantly working to provide better healthcare facilities to the people by making necessary arrangements required for the prevention of COVID-19 in the state.

He said 12,375 beds have been made available in government and private hospitals of the state. Now this number has increased to 13,500, he added.

The chief minister said the COVID-19 pandemic has hit everyone unexpectedly.

“All the sections of the society have to fight this pandemic by staying united, positive, and cooperating with frontline workers,” he said.

The chief minister said that the opposition is unnecessarily blaming the government on the COVID-19 issue, which “is certainly not an ethical thing to do in this hour of crisis”.

“Instead of levelling allegations on the government, the opposition should make the information available to the public about what the government has done,” the statement quoted him as saying.

Khattar said the opposition should give its suggestions to the government on how to fight the pandemic.

“This is not the right time to accuse the government.” The chief minister also appealed to the agitating farmers to cooperate with the government in its fight against the deadly virus.

He urged that understanding the need of the hour, the farmers, who are protesting against the Centre's new farm laws, should immediately call off their stir so as to ensure that the chain of virus spread is broken.

“This is the biggest crisis of humanity, so we all have to fight together. This pandemic is not limited to any person, a city, or a class. This is the fight of the whole world,” he added.

Khattar’s appeal came after farmers tried to reach the venue of his event.

Police said the farmers jumped police barricades and they had to use force and resort to tear gas shelling to disperse them.

The farmers claimed that a few of them were injured in police action.

A police spokesman said farmers pelted stones at the force and some personnel were injured and subsequently hospitalised.

Police said they detained some agitators, included women, as they were marching towards the venue to create obstructions in the chief minister's event.

The farmers have been protesting against the Centre's new farm laws and they been opposing the public functions of the BJP-JJP leaders in the state over it.

As farmers started assembling in numbers and marching towards the venue, the chief minister left after he inaugurated the hospital.

Earlier, a large number of farmers riding on tractors allegedly broke police barricades near Mayyar and Satrod villages on Hisar-Delhi National highway.

To protest the police action, farmers squatted and blocked some roads in the district.

Haryana BKU chief Gurnam Singh said over 150 farmers have been detained and demanded their immediately release.

Khattar said 1,000 teams have already been deputed to conduct door-to-door COVID-19 testing in villages from May 15.

He said the rates of private hospitals and ambulances have also been capped by the state government and strict action will be taken against those flouting the rules.

The Centre has said the new farm laws will benefit farmers by freeing them from the clutches of middlemen and ushering in new technology in the sector. However, farmers say these legislations will remove the safety net of the minimum support price (MSP) and leave them at the mercy of big corporates. PTI Corr SUN VSD AQS AQS