Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar addressing a press conference.
Senior NCP leader Ajit Pawar addressing a press conference.
ANI

Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday said the fire that broke out at the Serum Institute of India (SII) here last month, in which five persons died, was caused due to short circuit. Five labourers had died in the fire that broke out in a five-storey building in the SII's Manjari premises in Pune on January 21. However, the Covishield vaccine production was not impacted due to the blaze.

Pawar, while addressing the media after the annual general meeting of districts under Pune division ahead of the state budget, said he had visited the institute after the fire in the presence of senior officials, including the collector.

"The premises where the blaze erupted was empty and work was going on there. It is a private institute and they are carrying out their audit. The government is also investigating. There is no other cause behind the fire other than short circuit," he said. Speaking about the vaccination drive against COVID-19, Pawar said Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had initially given a statement that the Centre will be providing vaccination to all.

"He later gave a statement that they will be providing vaccine to three crore people, including paramedical staff and security forces. And now, he has again given a statement that 30 crore people will be given the vaccine," Pawar said. "The health minister has been giving different statements, but if you ask the state government's opinion, every state feels that it is the Centre's responsibility to provide the vaccine," he added.

If all states request the Centre, it will have to accept their demand, he said. Meanwhile, Pawar reiterated that Shiv Jayanti or the birth anniversary of Chhatrapati Shivaji should be celebrated in a simple manner in view of the pandemic.

"Not more than 100 people should gather at one place for the celebrations," he added.

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