With Punjab witnessing a spike in Covid-19 cases in the past one month, Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Friday said the Congress government had failed miserably in handling the pandemic in the state.

He said Punjab had surpassed Maharashtra and Gujarat by recording a fatality rate of 2.95 per cent with 2,150 casualties. The SAD president said while senior leaders in other states were camping in the worst affected areas to grapple with the crisis, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh was trying to control it through remote control from the comfort of his farmhouse.

“Chief Minister Amarinder however only believes in rattling off statistics about coming deaths instead of coming out with solutions to forestall them. It is this attitude, which also witnessed crores being spent on a self-proclamatory Mission Fateh propaganda exercise, which has spelled doom for Punjab and Punjabis,” he said.

Badal said the Congress government’s strategy to counter Covid had been criticised by its own health advisor Dr K K Talwar who had indicted the government for not conducting contact tracing of Covid positive cases in July and for failure to manage micro-containment zones.

“It is because of these failures that more than one thousand persons died due to Covid in August and now ten districts of the state are recording cases in three figures. The situation is now getting out of control with the pandemic claiming eighty to hundred persons every day,” the SAD chief said.

Stating that the Congress government was yet to learn any lessons from its failures, Badal said the government was now engaging in propaganda about supply of Oxymeters to people instead of ensuring supply of oxygen in both government and private hospitals.

“Hospitals are facing a huge shortage of liquid oxygen with the demand going up to 100 metric tonnes against a supply of only 15 metric tonnes. Instead of raising this supply and ensuring oxygen supply to hospitals is put on the priority list, Amarinder Singh is indulging in theatrics about distribution of Oxymeters,” he added.

The SAD leader also castigated health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu for attributing the high mortality rate in Punjab to lifestyle of Punjabis instead of admitting his failure to control the situation.