Mumbai: Stung by the volley of political slingshots amply supplied by the BJP, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to reprimand parties to refrain from politics during the present crisis. At a video conference with the PM on Thursday, Thackeray said Maharashtra had never lagged and nor would it do so when it came to combating the virus.
Thackeray’s appeal came in the midst of BJP leaders from the Centre and Maharashtra firing salvos against the state government for its handling of the coronavirus crisis. By seeking Modi’s intervention, Thackeray wanted leaders, especially former Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, state BJP chief Chandrakant Patil and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar to stop putting the state government in the wrong box.
Thackeray said that the state had increased testing and more was being done but called for an additional supply of vaccines as well as provision of oxygen and ventilators from other states. He pointed out that the state could ramp up vaccination if the Centre cleared its proposal to allow Haffkine Institute to produce vaccines.
Thackeray said the rise in Covid cases in Maharashtra was mainly due to the Gram Panchayat elections and wedding ceremonies. “Suddenly an outbreak of the virus began from some parts of Vidarbha and several families became infected. While the state was returning to normal, the infection was exacerbated by mutations in the virus. The same thing is happening in other parts of the world,” he said.
Regarding the vaccination drive in the state, Thackeray said that the objective was to vaccinate about 1.77 crore people in the priority group and for this, 40 lakh vaccines should be supplied every week. “So far, the state has been given 1,06,23,500 doses by the Centre, of which 92-95 lakh doses have been given to the people. At present, Maharashtra has very few stocks left and some centres have been closed. The Central government has said that 17.43 lakh doses will be given after April 15, but this will hamper the vaccination drive. Therefore, full delivery should be done as per our demand," he said.
Besides, Thackeray also repeated his demand for everyone above the age of 25 to be vaccinated.
Maharashtra is in dire need of oxygen and around 1700-2500 MT of it will be required by the end of April, he said. Based on the number of active cases, 90,000 to 1 lakh Remdesivir injections would be needed by the end of April, he added, as well as around 1,200 ventilators.