BHUBANESWAR: As several states have announced free vaccination for all people in their states, the Opposition BJP and Congress on Thursday asked the Odisha government to do so.BJP State general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan told mediapersons that as Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced free vaccination before the commencement of first-phase of vaccination in the country, the State government should also announce the same. “As states like Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Sikkim have announced free vaccination, we hope that the Odisha government will also follow suit and make an announcement within 24 hours,” he said.
Working president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Pradip Majhi said that as 76 per cent of the people of the State are below poverty line, they cannot afford the price fixed by the vaccine manufacturing companies. He said that as the Prime Minister had announced free vaccination for the entire country by considering the pandemic as a national disaster, the Odisha government should also announce so without further delay.
BJD vice-president Debi Prasad Mishra, however, said that the decision on free vaccination will be taken at the appropriate level. “It is my personal opinion that the State government should announce a rebate for the people on the purchase of vaccine,” he added.Mishra said that the Prime Minister should hold meetings with vaccine manufacturing to address the issue of vaccine shortage reported from different parts of the country. “The assertion of the Centre that there is no dearth of vaccines is not true,” he said.