PATIALA: Bharatiya Kisan Union (Ekta Ugrahan) on Saturday alleged the Congress government in Punjab "failed" to make necessary arrangements to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic and demanded that it takes control of all private hospitals accused of overcharging patients.
One of the largest farmers' unions in Punjab, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) on Friday began a three-day protest in Patiala, Chief Minister Amarinder Singh's home constituency, over the state government's alleged failure to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic.
On the second day of the protest, BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) leaders also alleged that there was a lack of health staff, ventilators, beds and oxygen in hospitals.
"The Punjab government has miserably failed in making necessary arrangements to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic," said BKU (Ekta Ugrahan) general secretary Sukhdev Singh Kokrikalan while addressing the farmers here.
He demanded the state government takes control of all private hospitals which are being accused of overcharging patients.
"New staff should also be recruited in the health department which is facing acute shortage of manpower," Kokrikalan said.
He asked the state government to hire more people in the health department, besides making necessary arrangements for beds, ventilators and oxygen in hospitals.
The farmer leader also wanted the government to provide vaccines to villagers free of charge and that proper arrangements should be made for free testing in every village and city.
A comprehensive awareness programme should also be conducted about vaccines in rural areas, he said, adding the farmers were following Covid-appropriate behaviour during the protest.
Kokrikalan accused the Central and the state governments of not taking adequate steps despite knowing in advance about the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh had earlier rejected the allegation of the state government's failure in tackling the pandemic effectively.