Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, on Tuesday, wrote to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, alleging low testing for COVID-19, a shortage of oxygen beds and a sluggish vaccination drive in the state, which is battling a "terrible" second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
In her letter to Adityanath, the Congress general secretary also alleged coronavirus patients and their attendant were scrambling for beds, medicines and oxygen in the state to no avail.
Uttar Pradesh, on Monday, reported 249 coronavirus deaths, the highest single-day fatality count so far, and 33,574 fresh cases. The infection has killed 11,414 people in the state till Monday,
"If you don't employ the entire resources of the government with determination in this hour of crisis, the future generations will never forgive you," she said in her letter, in which she has also made 10 suggestions on fighting the raging pandemic.
She said the second wave of the pandemic is at its peak in many cities of Uttar Pradesh and "is now spreading to villages".
"The biggest concern is that the rate of coronavirus cases is rising, while testing is very low. A large number of cases are not being reported," Gandhi alleged in her letter in Hindi.
She said the war against COVID-19 rests on four pillars of testing, treatment, tracking and vaccination.
"There is no testing in rural areas and people in the urban areas also area facing a lot of difficulties in getting their tests done. Test reports do not come for several days. In a state with a population of over 23 crore, there are only 126 government test centres and 115 private centres," she said.
She said another big concern area was an alleged lack of hospital beds, medical oxygen, and an acute shortage of medicines and their massive black-marketing.
"The Ayushman card scheme has failed, it is not being honoured by any hospital. People are being forced to pay three-four times more for oxygen, Remedesivir and other life-saving drugs," she said, adding it is difficult for the poor and middle class to get treatment in such a scenario.
She also alleged people have to face a lot of difficulties at crematoriums and death figures are also being "underreported".
"This game of underreporting deaths is being played every day in every district, in every town of UP," she said, asking, "It is being done on whose directions?"
People are not getting wood for the cremation of bodies and families have to wait for 12 hours for an ambulance to take their deceased loved ones to cremation ground, she claimed.
On vaccination, she said the pace of immunisation was "sluggish" in the state as it has inoculated "less than 1 crore people in five months".
"Uttar Pradesh will need at least Rs 10,000 crore to vaccinate 60 per cent of the state's population, while it has allocated only Rs 40 crore. I urge you (CM) to explore the possibility of manufacturing vaccines in Bharat Immunological and Biological Corporation in Bulandshahr," she suggested.
She added, "Whatever may be your motive behind the order to book people who are exposing the truth of this pandemic and confiscate their property, please first focus your attention on trying to control this deadly virus."
She said the state government should announce an economic package for the welfare of all health workers and frontline workers, and also re-notify all the closed COVID-19 hospitals and care centres.
It should immediately increase the availability of oxygen-beds, she said.
All medical personnel and paramedical staff retired from territorial service should be recalled to work in hospitals near their homes, she said.
"Increase the number of RT-PCR tests. It should be ensured that at least 80 per cent of the tests are through RTPCR. Open new testing centers in rural areas and purchase of adequate test kits and appointment of trained staff," she said.
COVID-19 kits should be distributed in villages with the help of Anganwadi and Asha workers, she added.
She also suggested granting ‘ambulance status’ to oxygen tankers for faster transportation and demanded financial assistance for the poor, the laborers, street vendors and migrant workers.
She demanded relief for shopkeepers, small businesses and said that government should encourage people, parties and institutions to come forward to help them.