The Congress on Sunday said the Gujarat government’s “inefficiency” in handling the coronavirus crisis has rendered it “undermining, underconfident and underachieving”, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the state rose rapidly.
“In Gujarat, today we don’t have a health care system, we have a sick system,” Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said.
He quoted a Gujarat High Court judgement to target the BJP-ruled Gujarat which is also the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, and said such words have never been used by the judiciary against the state authorities.
At a press conference through video conferencing, Singhvi also sought to know why the Prime Minister or the Home Minister did not intervene, chastise or punish the Gujarat government.
“We would respectfully ask the Prime Minister, Home Minister, the Government of India, chief minister of Gujarat and the government of Gujarat – Are they even aware of what is happening in their own home state?”
“If so, have they ever intervened, chastised or punished the Gujarat government or does the latter have Covid immunity vaccine because they belong to the BJP?” he posed.
Singhvi also asked why the Gujarat Governor did not use similar standards like those adopted by the West Bengal governor against the state government and whether similar inspection teams were sent to Gujarat by the Centre, as has been done for West Bengal.
“Why has the Gujarat Governor not adopted the same intrusive standards for the Gujarat Government as his West Bengal counterpart did?” he asked.
Singhvi said if powerful people, including leaders and “controllers of the central government”, themselves are “unable to provide medical justice” to the poor and the needy of their home area, “what Covid justice can the rest of India’s teeming millions expect from them”.
“Sadly, we and the nation seek answers about which we are confident and pessimistically sure we will never get,” he said.
The Congress leader alleged that the High Court of Gujarat has used “some of the severest, most scathing and harshest strictures” against the state government, alleging that references have been made to “sinking of the Titanic”, the “extremely bad shape” of the hospital and the state government’s “bizarre intent to artificially control the data of the number of cases”.
“The inefficiency of the Gujarat government in handling the COVID-19 crisis depicts that it is undermining, underconfident, and underachieving,” Singhvi said.
“Is it not true that by such methods of suppressed testing, transparency the true nature of the problem is critically compromised, distorted and misrepresented for purposes of personal image?” he asked.
Singhvi also alleged that the Gujarat government was making profits out of N-95 masks.
“Why is the Government of Gujarat, close on the heels of the ‘non-existent ventilator scam’, selling N-95 masks admittedly at Rs 65 per mask as against the admitted procurement cost to it of Rs 49.61 per mask i.e. at a straight profit arbitrage of 31 per cent?”
The Congress spokesperson also sought to know why the Gujarat government “is on one hand profiteering from an essential item like N-95 mask, and is levying steep penalty on those who do not wear masks in public”.
“Why it is making public hospital spaces like City Hospitals a death trap?” he asked.
“The Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad contributed to 62 per cent of the total deaths in Ahmedabad which has over 85 per cent deaths of all COVID-19 fatalities in Gujarat,” he said quoting the High Court judgment.
It also said that the death rate at Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad, is almost double than that of two other government/municipality-run hospitals in the city itself.
The number of coronavirus cases in Gujarat rose to 13,669 after 396 new cases were reported on Saturday, while death toll rose to 829 with 27 new fatalities. In Ahmedabad district alone, the number of cases crossed the 10,000-mark after 277 new instances of the infection was reported on Saturday.