Left parties accuse govt of wasting time while preparing for COVID

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New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) The Left parties on Saturday lashed out at the government, accusing it of wasting time in preparing for the COVID pandemic and said that if it does not deliver, it would lose its 'moral authority to remain in office'.

In a joint statement leaders of the CPI(M), CPI, CPIML, All India Forward Bloc and the Revolutionary Socialist Party said that India was in the grips of 'the worst humanitarian health crisis since independence.' 'Worse, the scourge of the pandemic continues to intensify. Immediate measures to combat the pandemic, protect people’s lives and livelihoods are needed to be undertaken by the central government on a war footing,' it said.

Listing a slew of measures, the Left parties demanded that the provision of oxygen to all hospitals and people needing it must be ensured.

It urged the government to launch a 'Free Universal Vaccination programme' across the country.

'Spend the budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crores, release the monies collected in PM Cares Fund and stop construction of the Rs 20,000 crores Central Vista, use this money for procuring vaccines.

'Invoke Compulsory Licensing to produce both vaccines and life saving drugs by all competent facilities,' the statement said.

It also urged the government to strictly control prices of essential drugs and oxygen and to clampdown on their hoarding and black marketing.

It also asked the government to directly transfer Rs 7500 to all families in the non-income tax paying bracket and free distribution of foodgrains to all needy.

It also demanded that the government immediately ensure the availability of hospital beds, ventilators, ICU beds, particularly in rural areas where the pandemic is spreading rapidly.

'One whole year has been wasted by this government which did not heed any of our suggestions. Instead the government promoted mega superspreader events.

'Now, India cannot afford to lose any more time. As the least minimum, the government must immediately deliver on the above. Otherwise, the central government completely loses its moral authority to continue to remain in office,' the parties said. PTI ASG AAR AAR