‘Should we hang ourselves, if vaccines not manufactured’. Union Minister Sadananda Gowda on Covid production

BJP national general secretary C T Ravi, meanwhile, claimed the government had made timely arrangements to avert a bigger disaster related to the pandemic

Leaders of the ruling BJP and opposition Congress party in Karnataka were at loggerheads on Thursday over directions issued by courts over managing the ongoing pandemic-related crisis in the state.

At a press meet in Bengaluru, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers D V Sadananda Gowda aired his frustration on questions raised by the Supreme Court and Karnataka High Court on Covid management by the Centre and the state governments, both led by his party, the BJP.

“The court has said everyone in the country should be inoculated, with a good intention. However, let me ask you, if the court says tomorrow that you need to provide so much (of Covid vaccine) which is not being manufactured, should we go hang ourselves. You should look into all this before asking so,” he told reporters.

Further explaining the vaccination scenario in Karnataka, Gowda, who also represents Bangalore North in the Lok Sabha, said, “There are about 75,000 doses of Covaxin available in the state at present. There is some scarcity reported from a few centres as of now. The Centre has been making allocations in a practical manner considering how production is taking place at the two manufacturing units. With production witnessing shortcomings in the last few days, providing vaccines have taken a hit.”

He added that it would take another three to four days’ time to provide more vaccines to Karnataka. “While I have no exact figures to give, I can assure you that the government is doing its best to streamline the process as soon as possible,” Gowda said.

Meanwhile, BJP national general secretary C T Ravi claimed the government had made timely arrangements to avert a bigger disaster related to the pandemic. “If proper arrangements were not made (by the government), we would have witnessed fatalities at the rate of over ten or even a hundred times more than what it is now,” he said.

The Chickmagalur MLA added that medical oxygen supply to the state was hiked to 1500 MT from 300 MT due to “systematic preparation.” He added, “Some preparations failed due to the unimaginable spread of Covid-19.”

Further, answering queries related to courts criticising government action during the pandemic, he said, “Judges are not sarvajna (someone who knows everything). Whatever is available with us, based on that the technical advisory committee will recommend how much (vaccine) has to be distributed. Based on their report, we will take a decision.”

Karnataka Congress chief D K Shivakumar reacted to Ravi’s statement terming it as “highly condemnable”. He tweeted, “Trying to cast aspersions on judges, when they are upholding the rights of our citizens, is one of the reasons why our country is witnessing such devastation during this pandemic.”

Karnataka reported 344 deaths and 35,297 new Covid-19 infections on Thursday. The state has reported over 10.5 lakh cases and 8128 deaths have taken place since April 1 this year alone.

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