Siddaramaiah demands white paper from Karnataka govt on COVID-19 management

Bengaluru, June 28 (PTI) Senior Congress leader Siddaramaiah on Sunday urged the Karnataka government to bring out a 'white paper' regarding its COVID-19 management.

Alleging lack of transparency on part of the government in controlling the spread of virus, the former Chief Minister said, this has led to 'mistrust' among the people about the administration.

Citing allegations of irregularity in the purchase of medical equipment by paying twice the market rate, he threatened the government of agitation, if it continues to remain indifferent to the demand for white paper and transparency.

'As the Karnataka government has not maintained transparency in its measures to control the spread of coronavirus, it has given rise to suspicion, insecurity among people,' Siddaramaiah said.

In a statement released by his office, he urged Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa to bring out a white paper regarding measures taken and money spent so far, to place the truth before the people and instill trust in them.

With the spike in the number of infections in the state, Opposition Congress has accused the government of 'failing' to manage the COVID-19 situation.

The number of Covid-19 cases in the state which stood at 3,408 as of June 1, reported 11,923 on Saturday with the capital city topping the districts in the infection count.

Siddaramaiah in his statement has demanded an account on the money spent by the government for COVID-19 treatment and related activities.

'How much money has been spent from the state's treasury to control coronavirus? it has been spent on what purpose? How much has been spent so far on quarantine, treatment, PPE kits, ventilators, oxygen cylinders, masks, sanitisers and other medical equipment?' he asked.

Questioning as to how much money and equipment have come from the Centre, he wanted to know about the number of beds reserved at private hospitals for corona treatment, the basis on which rates have been fixed for private hospitals.

'All this information has to be placed before the people.' Claiming that despite several letters by him seeking details, the departments were not sharing the information properly.

The Congress legislature party leader alleged that such denial of information amounts to breach of his privilege.

'It also gives rise to suspicion regarding the functioning of the government.

So complete details have to be made known to the people through the white paper,' he added.

The government has not made any preparations to control COVID-19 in the last three months, other than wasting its time in imposing and withdrawing lockdown measures, Siddaramaiah said, the people of the state will have to face the sufferings because of this 'inactiveness'.

'With the infection spreading, people are losing trust in the government', he said adding that as the government hospitals are filled, the administration has to convince the private hospitals regarding the rates and ask them to provide treatment or else should take strict action against them.

Noting that there were allegations of irregularity in the purchase of medical equipment and that they have been brought by paying the price double than the market rate, Siddaramaiah said, 'it is alleged that- the amount is said to be about Rs 3300 crore.

So the government should immediately come out with a white paper, provide facts and take the public into confidence.' It will be inevitable to protest on the streets if the government continues to remain indifferent to our demand, he added. PTI KSU ROH ROH