BENGALURU: Two days after the Karnataka High Court directed the Union Government to take up the issue of vaccine supplies with the manufacturers, Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers, DV Sadananda Gowda on Thursday retorted saying, “Should we hang ourselves if we cannot vaccinate people as directed by the courts?’’
Addressing the media at Vidhana Soudha along with BJP National General Secretary CT Ravi, Gowda lashed out saying, “If hypothetically, the courts tell us tomorrow that we have to give so many vaccines and assuming that we are not able to do so, should we hang ourselves?’’ when asked about courts intervening in the vaccination issue. The usually smiling Sadananda Gowda’s ‘strong statement,’ was perhaps and indicator of the pressure on the government to ensure adequate supplies at a time when there is a visible shortage of vaccines in the country.
Asked about the shortage of vaccines, Gowda said, “We are working with good intentions and it is our endeavour that everyone in the country should be vaccinated.”Regarding the numerous complaints about all-round shortages and long queues to get vaccines, he said, “When we look at numbers, those getting vaccinated till April was very small,” the Union Minister said.
“But after the second wave, the demand for vaccines went up. This month, it is expected to go up further. In one week, some more vaccines will be available,” he added, but did not give out details. “We have gotten in touch with the manufacturers of Sputnik V and they have agreed to send five crore doses,” he said and added that 75,000 doses had already arrived. When TNIE got in touch with Dr Reddy’s Laboratory, which is officially importing the Sputnik V vaccine, they confirmed that about 1.5 lakh doses had arrived.
Sadananda Gowda said friendly nations have come to India’s aid, thanks to our good relations with them. He added that the PM Cares Fund had given Rs 303.69 crore to Karnataka. Referring to the opposition Congress protests in the state, led by Siddaramaiah on Wednesday, Sadananda Gowda said, “If Corona can be controlled by holding protests, let them be on the streets, that is good.”
While the Opposition has been slamming the government for its lack of preparedness, C T Ravi reasoned, “If necessary arrangements had not been made in advance, then there would have been more fatalities.’’ He said oxygen supply has been increased from 300 metric tons to 1,500 tons due to “systematic preparation.’’ Ravi later admitted, “Our preparations did not succeed because of the rapid spread of Covid-19.’’Ravi said, “Judges are not Sarvajnas. Whatever knowledge is available with us, and based on that the technical advisory committee’s opinion, we decide on the quantum of vaccines and distribution process.”
Meanwhile, reacting to the BJP leader’s remarks on judges, KPCC president D K Shivakumar tweeted, “BJP leader C T Ravi’s statement against judges, saying they are not ‘Sarvagna’, is highly condemnable. Trying to cast aspersions on judges, when they are upholding the rights of our citizens, is one of the reasons why our country is witnessing such devastation during this pandemic.’’