New Delhi [India], April 17 (ANI): There is gross unpreparedness and avoidable adhocism on the part of the Central government in foreseeing and managing the COVID-19 crisis, said Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi on Saturday as the country is witnessing a record surge in new COVID-19 infections.
During a meeting of the Congress Working Committee on Saturday, she held discussions with the Chief Ministers of states ruled by the Congress and where the party is in alliance government, to take stock of the coronavirus situation there.
"I held detailed discussion with the Chief Ministers of states ruled by the Congress and where the Congress is in alliance government, to take stock of the situation there. What transpired was, gross unpreparedness and avoidable adhocism on the part of the Modi government in foreseeing and managing the COVID crisis," she said in the meeting.
"I have written to the Prime Minister after meeting with them. Our CMs have spoken to the Prime Minister and written to the concerned minister from time to time pleading for relief. Some of them were left with only a few days of vaccine, no oxygen or ventilators," she added.
India is currently witnessing a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. The highest-ever single-day spike of coronavirus cases was reported on Saturday with over 2.34 lakh new cases and more than 1,300 deaths in the last 24 hours.
Regarding vaccination, Gandhi urged the Centre to reduce the immunisation age limit to 25 years and above.
"It is true that after months of denial, the Centre has now given emergency use authorization for vaccines developed elsewhere. The government must also reconsider its priority for vaccine candidates by reducing immunization age to 25 years and above," she said.
India is currently in the process of vaccinating its citizens aged 45 and above.
The Congress leader further said that it was imperative for the government to provide monthly income support and transfer Rs 6,000 in every eligible citizen's account as economic activity will once again be restricted.
"As Central and state governments resort to partial curfews, travel restrictions and lockdowns, we will again be restricting economic activity that will hit many including the poor and needy. It is imperative to provide monthly income support and transfer Rs 6,000 in every eligible citizen's account," she said.
In the meeting, former finance minister P Chidambaram too hit out at the Centre saying, "The initial response measures of the central government were ludicrous, to say the least. The Prime Minister went on national television to exhort people to clang plates. And after two weeks, he went on national television to exhort people to light lamps."
"Since there was no vaccine or cure, the only course that was feasible was containment. That required testing, tracking, tracing and treatment. However, at every step, the central government's response was totally inadequate," he added.
"In desperation, it (government) fell back upon strategy of a 'lockdown' that had been tried in other countries with mixed results. In the case of India, it was a sudden lockdown without any notice to the people - or even to state governments - and without any preparation by the central government," he added.
Meanwhile, party leader KC Venugopal informed that the CWC had approved a statement highlighting the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country following the video conference.
"Following the meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC) over COVID-19, the committee approved a statement highlighting the current situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and the need for a comprehensive action plan," Venugopal said.
He further added that the committee had asked party workers and leader across the country to help the poor affected by the pandemic.
"The working committee has asked the workers and leaders across the country to help poor people of the country who are affected by the pandemic. CWC has asked PPCs (Pradesh Congress Committees) to set up control rooms to assist people," he said. (ANI)