AIADMK govt. has failed to manage the pandemic, says DMK president

DMK president and Opposition leader M.K. Stalin on Tuesday demanded a White Paper on the measures taken by the AIADMK government to deal with the COVID-19 outbreak and the financial and economic loss caused by the pandemic.

Speaking in the Assembly, he said the White Paper should explain aspects like the procurement of medical equipment, the tests conducted in every hospital, the number of people infected by the virus, those who were discharged after treatment and the money spent from the State Disaster Management Authority.

“There is no transparency in the purchases and appointments (of medical staff) made during the pandemic,” he alleged, adding, “The House will be in session for just one more day. The government should place the White Paper before that.”

Alleging that the government had rejected his demand for an all-party meeting to chalk out plans to deal with the situation, Mr. Stalin said over 5 lakh people had been affected by COVID-19 in the State so far.

“The government failed totally in its efforts to contain the virus, and the State economy is staring at a bleak future,” he said.

Mr. Stalin wanted the government to reveal whether it had sanctioned ₹2 lakh for the treatment of frontline workers and ₹50 lakh to the families of frontline workers who died after contracting the infection. He wanted to know what happened to the committee, headed by former Reserve Bank Governor C. Rangarajan, tasked with studying the fiscal challenges caused by the COVID-19.

Mr. Stalin said the government failed to set up adequate laboratories, oxygen facilities and ventilators in district hospitals. He demanded disbursement of ₹5,000 to every family affected by the pandemic-induced lockdown.

In his reply to the special calling attention motion moved by the DMK and others, Health Minister C. Vijayabaskar said the death rate due to COVID-19 remained at 1.67%, the lowest in the country, due to the AIADMK government’s efforts.

If one had to look for purely COVID-19-related deaths, it stood at 0.3%, and the remaining 1.3% were cases with co-morbidities, Mr. Vijayabaskar said. The Minister also appreciated the services of frontline workers and other officials involved in the fight against COVID-19.

Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami joined the debate to say that the State government was making all-out efforts to manage the pandemic. When DMK Deputy Floor Leader Duraimurugan said he had warned about deaths due to the pandemic as early as in March, the CM said it was the intention of the government to save all lives.

The CM elaborated on the steps being taken to create awareness among the public on COVID-19. “The government is for not losing even a single life and we are taking steps towards it. But, You are all aware that there is no medicine for this as of yet…Even so, the government has made efforts to reduce the spread of the infection as per the suggestions made by medical experts,” he said.

Mr. Vijayabaskar said all the efforts being taken by the State government along with the frontline workers have helped in the decline in COVID-19 positive cases and related deaths, which he said was a success.

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