BENGALURU: A meeting of Bengaluru MLAs, MLCs, MPs and ministers of all parties to discuss the Covid-19 situation in the State capital ended in uncertainty, after the government decided to announce new guidelines only post an all-party virtual meeting scheduled to take place on Tuesday. Governor Vajubhai Vala will head the virtual meeting, where leaders of opposition parties will also participate.
Revenue Minister R Ashoka, who chaired the meeting, as well as Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa who joined via video conference, said all suggestions had been noted and will be considered. Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa, who is hospitalised due to Covid reinfection, joined the meeting via video conference.
The three-hour meeting on Monday witnessed elected representatives from Bengaluru highlighting issues plaguing citizens at a time cases are surging by the thousands. Issues of extending night curfew from 8pm, imposing Section 144 to contain gatherings, identifying additional places for cremation etc, were discussed. Opposition legislators pulled up the government over the alleged shortage of beds, ventilators, medicines as well as oxygen supply.
“There is no shortage of oxygen in the State but hospitals that don’t have storage facility and are dependent on cylinders are facing difficulties with supplies. We have appointed nodal officers to ensure cylinders are supplied thrice a day to such hospitals so there is no shortage,” said Ashoka.
Govt must help poor if it plans lockdown
While there was consensus that lockdown is not an option, measures to cut down gatherings were discussed. “We did not oppose the government on any front but suggested that if it intends to go ahead with a clampdown, authorities must transfer Rs 25,000 to accounts of the poor and vulnerable so they don’t starve,” said Byatarayanapura MLA Krishna Byregowda. Following issues raised by MLAs, the government has assured that monitoring those in home isolation, hand stamping, assigning of BU numbers for quicker access to government quota beds will be enhanced by allocating more manpower and resources. “MLAs have raised issues of medicines like Remdesivir being black marketed.
Our police force has already arrested the people involved. P h a r mac i s t s involved in the racket will also be arrested,” Ashoka said. Responding to allegations of bed shortage, Ashoka said that private hospitals have set aside only 10% of the total beds marked under government quota. “We have 14% more beds than last time but private hospitals have handed over only 10% of beds under government quota so far. In the next one week, that will be increased to 60% and eventually to 100%,” Ashoka added.
Following reports of ambulances lining up outside crematoriums, the government has decided to identify open grounds and convert them into makeshift firewood crematoriums. “We have also requested Cooperation Minister ST Somashekhar to help set up staggered, temporary wholesale markets in the city outskirts or in Anekal and on Tumakuru Road like last year,” Ashoka said.