Mumbai: Standing committee urges BMC to set free vaccine quota to private hospitals

Corporators of the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) standing committee, on Friday, moved a resolution, urging the civic administration to make a quota for the private hospitals, under which vials would be given to them free of cost. Ravi Raja, a senior Congress corporator and Leader of opposition (LoP) in the BMC, moved a resolution on this issue. It was supported unanimously by members beyond the party lines.

Raja said that, so far, the BMC has spent around Rs 2,000 crore in setting up isolation facilities and COVID-19 care centres. The administration should now expand its facilities to vaccinate citizens. By this, it will be able to save both lives and people's money. “The private hospitals have been buying the vaccines from BMC directly. If BMC prepares a quota for them and gives them a percentage of the vaccines, then they in return can vaccinate beneficiaries free of cost,” said Raja.

“More people will get vaccinated for free and this would cost the BMC around Rs 200 crore, which is 1/10 of the entire money spent on building COVID-19 infrastructure so far," he added.

Raja's motion has been due for discussion for the next session of the committee meeting. “We have supported the move, because the more decentralised the facilities get, the greater number of people will be vaccinated at a given time," said Rais Shaikh, Samajwadi Party legislator and corporator from Nagpada.

"If the administration approves the resolution, then we would be able to vaccinate people free of cost, irrespective of age," Shaikh said. "BMC should supply vaccines to all the hospitals, be it private or civic. Mumbai has a huge population density and the demand for vaccines is rising day by day. If we don't act now, then there will be more problems in the days to come," said Vinod Mishra, senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) corporator and group leader of his party in the BMC.

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