New Delhi [India], June 3 (ANI): Union Minister Anurag Thakur on Thursday alleged that the Punjab government is charging four times above the basic price of COVID-19 vaccine procurement while over 11.50 lakh doses were wasted by the Rajasthan government.
Both Punjab and Rajasthan are Congress-ruled states.
The MoS of Finance and Corporate Affairs questioned the lack of transparency and accountability of the Punjab and Rajasthan governments on the vaccine issue.
"The Punjab government has shown a careless and callous attitude towards the people of the state by charging four times above the basic price of procurement. Why should an individual pay over Rs 3,120 for two doses when the Centre is providing free vaccines to the state government?" asked Thakur.
Thakur also said, "Punjab Government is hand in glove with private hospitals. They are creating a false narrative about vaccines scarcity and ensuring the lack of proper vaccination facilities at government hospitals. Why should a single dose of the vaccine cost Rs 1,560 at a private hospital? Punjab government profits while the poor pay this pandemic premium on vaccines."
The minister also lashed out at the Gehlot Government in Rajasthan. He said, "At over 35 vaccination centres, thousands of vials of vaccines have been found in the garbage or wasted. Is the Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot really serious about saving lives? Over 11.50 Lakh doses were wasted by the state; Rajasthan government has blood on its hands."
Questioning Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's motives, Thakur asked, "Rahul Gandhi tweets about vaccine shortage, has he ensured Congress-ruled states prevent wastage? Will Rahul Gandhi investigate why vaccines have been supplied to Congress cronies who are charging a 'pandemic premium' and indulging in black marketing, instead of saving the lives of the poor? And does he have the courage to question his own Chief Ministers for charging a 'pandemic premium' on vaccines?."
The minister applauded the efforts of the Central government and said that the Centre has provided over 24 crore vaccines free of cost to the States/Union Territories during the pandemic period.
"As of today, over 2 crore vaccines are still available with them. They are administered for free at government hospitals. Instead of facilitating the vaccination process, Punjab Government is looting the people at the time of this pandemic. Without a doubt, black marketing is happening right under their nose," he said. (ANI)