Sukhbir Singh Badal asks CM to make allocation for purchase of vaccines worth Rs 1,000 crore: Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today said Punjab needed speedy vaccination to win the fight against Covid-19 and requested chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to make a special allocation of Rs 1,000 crore to purchase vaccines to vaccinate the entire State in the next six months.
He also called for giving a monthly pension of Rs 6,000 to all families who had lost their bread winners to Covid besides free education to Covid orphans as well as waiving off power and water bills for all sections of society for a six month period.
The SAD President was addressing a press conference here after welcoming independent SGPC member and former Congress Secretary Surjit Singh Tugalwal into the party along with his entire team. He also announced that Mr Tugalwal would be given the prestigious post of Vice President in the SAD.
While speaking of the need for speedy vaccination, Mr Sukhbir Badal said Capt Amarinder Singh should not look at the centre alone for vaccines but should use State funds to source them quickly on the pattern of the Shiromani Committee which had procured Covaxin doses within one week of placing the order.
He said even a Corporation like the Mumbai one had purchased vaccine doses worth Rs 600 crore to vaccinate the entire city in one go. “If need be, the chief minister should call an emergency meeting of the State cabinet to clear the proposal for speedy procurement of vaccine doses”.
Mr Badal said simultaneously the government should make necessary preparations to cope with an expected third Covid wave. “The State needs to order at least 2,000 ventilators and install them within three months along with hiring the necessary staff to man them”. He said this was of utmost importance because 17 out of 22 districts did not have ventilator facilities.
The SAD President also maintained that Punjab could fight the war against Covid effectively if the chief minister and all the State ministers led from the front. “Sadly this has been missing till now and that it why Punjab has witnessed 4,000 deaths in the last three months alone”. Mr Badal also requested the central government not to levy GST on vaccine, saying it should not try to earn money from the sale of vaccines. He also called for doing away with GST from ventilators and life saving drugs needed to treat Covid.
Speaking on the completion of six month period of the Kisan Andolan tomorrow, Mr Badal said he had urged the party rank and file to hoist black flags to demand repeal of the three Agricultural laws as well as show solidarity with protesting farmers. He called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to adopt an intransigent attitude towards the farmers by putting conditions for further talks with them and requested him to hold direct unconditional talks with the farmers.
Mr Badal also requested the Punjab government to ensure all 400 martyrs of the Kisan Andolan were given adequate compensation as well as government jobs. He said right now only 189 farmers had been given a compensation of Rs five lakh each and none of the affected families had been offered government jobs.
Senior leaders including Bikram Singh Majithia, Sikander Singh Maluka, Dr Daljit Singh Cheema and Lakhbir Singh Lodhinangal were also present on the occasion. The SAD President also presented ‘siropas’ with the party flag to supporters of Mr Surjit Tungawal including Jaswant Singh, Jagmohan Bajwa, Nishan Singh, Kashmir Singh and Anup Singh.