New Delhi [India], May 3 (ANI): Leaders of 13 opposition parties -- including the Congress, Left and the Trinamool Congress -- have come together and called upon the central government to ensure supply of uninterrupted oxygen flow to all the hospitals and launch a free mass vaccination drive across the country in view of the unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases.
In a joint statement which was tweeted by Congress leader Jairam Ramesh, senior leaders including Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee and CPM general secretary Sitaram Yechury said: "Hope the Prime Minister will consider this joint statement from Opposition leaders seriously and in the right spirit. Meeting them immediately would be a good first step to rebuild trust and confidence during this time of national crisis."
"We call upon the central government to focus all its attention in ensuring uninterrupted flow of oxygen supplies to all hospitals and health centers across the country," it added.
The statement further called upon the Centre to immediately launch a free mass vaccination program across the country, advising it to utilise the budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crore for the vaccination program for it
The signatories to the statement included Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister and JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda, NCP chief Sharad Pawar, Maharashtra Chief Minister and Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, Banerjee, Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, DMK supremo MK Stalin, BSP chief Mayawati, SP leader Akhilesh Yadav, RJD's Tejashwi Yadav, Left leaders Yechury and D Raja and Farooq Abdullah on behalf of the Jammu Kashmir Peoples' Alliance.
India has been reporting three lakh COVID-19 cases on a daily basis for the past few days. Over two lakh people have lost their lives to the deadly disease since the onset of the pandemic in the country.
The country had started the COVID-19 vaccination drive on January 16 with two vaccines -- Covishield (Oxford-AstraZeneca's vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute of India) and Covaxin (manufactured by Bharat Biotech Limited).
The second phase of the COVID-19 vaccination drive to inoculate people above 60 years and those over 45 with comorbidities against the coronavirus began on March 1. The third phase began on April 1 for all above 45 years of age.
On May 1, everyone above 18 years of age became eligible to get themselves vaccinated against novel coronavirus. (ANI)