New Delhi [India], July 20 (ANI): Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Hardeep Singh Puri on Tuesday slammed the Opposition for its criticism over the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and asserted that 'virus' is the real enemy and not governments and authorities.
Speaking in Rajya Sabha, the Minister reiterated that before the pandemic, India did not produce either the ventilators, or PPE kits and masks, but during the nationwide lockdown, the country developed an ecosystem and along with meeting internal demands, India also exported the items.
"Uninformed comment is bad enough but when an attempt is made to deliberately produce a false narrative, it's an even more serious matter. Even one death of any Indian citizen on account of any cause, whether COVID or non-COVID related, is a matter of regret," he said.
"Listening to members from across party lines, I got the impression that the one realisation which had escaped them was that the enemy here is the virus, not the government, not the state Chief Ministers, not the system. It is the virus that is the enemy," the minister added.
He said the 'false narrative' spoken on the floor of House will be scrutinised and fact check and countering Oppositions' allegation, noted that India was one of the first countries to put a ban on flights from China and imposed the nationwide lockdown.
"As Civil Aviation Minister, I was the first to stop flights coming from China, others followed. We went into a total lockdown on March 25, 2020. On one hand, we are told lockdown is too severe and at the same time you want to have the cake and eat it too," Puri said.
He also lambasted the Opposition on the issue of COVID-19 vaccination, and said, "Lose talk coming here about us exporting vaccine. Do you know what a vaccine is? Many of you leaders turn around and talk about vaccines as if it was something that you can buy from your neighbourhood chemist. The manufacturer producing vaccine can be counted on fingertips."
"There are two vaccine manufacturers in India initially involved in manufacturing of COVID vaccine. But the GOM face repeated chorus coming from Congress and other parts of the political system about why accelerated permission was given to Bharat Biotech," he said.
He added that despite criticism from the Opposition, India produced a vaccine ecosystem. "Today we are one of the leading manufacturers (of vaccines). We are going to meet the domestic demand. As of yesterday, we had administered 42 crore doses," he stated. (ANI)