Leaders of 12 opposition parties Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a free mass vaccination campaign against coronavirus, and a suspension of the central vista revamp project to aid the fight against the pandemic, PTI reported.
The signatories to the joint letter include Congress president Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister and JDS leader H D Deve Gowda, NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, chief ministers Uddhav Thackeray (Shiv Sena), Mamata Banerjee (TMC), MK Stalin (DMK), and Hemant Soren (JMM), former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah (NC) and Akhilesh Yadav (SP) and RJD leader Tejashwi Yadav, left leaders D Raja (CPI) and Sitaram Yechury (CPI-M).
Their joint letter demanded providing foodgrains to the needy, and giving Rs 6,000 per month to the unemployed.
The leaders have also demanded a repeal of the three Central farm laws which, they claimed, will help protect lakhs of ‘annadatas’ (food-growers) from becoming the victims of COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the leaders, the COVID-19 pandemic has assumed unprecedented dimensions of a human catastrophe in the country, and that it was absolutely imperative for the Central government to undertake and implement these measures.
“Unfortunately, your government has either ignored or refused all these suggestions. This only compounded the situation to reach such an apocalyptic human tragedy,” read the letter.
“Procure vaccines centrally from all available sources – global and domestic. Immediately begin a free, universal mass vaccination campaign across the country. Invoke compulsory licensing to expand domestic vaccine production. Spend budgetary allocation of Rs 35,000 crores for the vaccines,” the leaders urged PM Modi.
The letter went on to say: “Stop Central Vista construction. Use the allocated money for procuring oxygen and vaccines, instead. Release all money held in the unaccounted private trust fund, PM Cares to buy more vaccines, Oxygen and medical equipment required.”
The leaders also alleged that over one crore tonnes of foodgrains are currently “rotting in central godowns” and they demanded giving all jobless at least Rs 6,000 per month and a free distribution of foodgrains to the needy.
“Repeal farm laws to protect lakhs of our annadatas becoming victims of the pandemic so that they can continue to produce food to feed the Indian people,” the letter states.
“Though it has not been the practice of your office or government, we would appreciate a response to our suggestions in the interests of India and our people,” the leaders wrote.