Bengal, May 5: Hours after taking oath as the chief minister of West Bengal for her third successive term, Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and requested him to allow free-of-cost vaccine against Covid-19 to all. She also requested him to ensure an adequate supply of essential drugs and hike allocation of medical oxygen for West Bengal.
Mamata had advocated free vaccines for all in the country during her election campaign and after the TMC swept the polls in Bengal, she even threatened to launch an agitation for the same.
“At the very outset, I would again like to emphasize free vaccination for all. You may kindly recall my letter of 24th February 2021, wherein I had requested you to allow the government of West Bengal to allow procurement of vaccine from designated points for providing vaccination for the people of the state free of cost. This has not been addressed,” the West Bengal CM said in the letter.
In the letter, the chief minister stressed four specific points. Firstly, she requested universal immunization for all in a transparent and time-bound manner. “At present vaccine availability is too inadequate to provide to eligible beneficiaries and government of India direction to extend vaccination up to 18 years plus makes it unrealistic to achieve. So the supply of vaccines is the core issue to address now,” Mamata said.
The CM also urged the PM to ensure the availability of essential drugs including Remdesivir and Tocilizumab to states to meet their rising demand. “At least 10,000 doses of Remdesivir and 1000 vials of Tocilizumab is the daily requirement of our state (West Bengal),” Mamata said in the letter.
The CM also informed that the consumption of medical oxygen in West Bengal has risen from 200 MT to 400 MT per day and it is likely to go up to 500 MT in the next seven days.
“Concerned authorities may kindly be advised to allocate at least 500 MT of medical oxygen per day out of the total oxygen produced in Bengal on an urgent basis to prevent any shortage,” she said.
“I am told 70 PSA units have been allotted to Bengal which is likely to take time to be installed. As such to meet immediate necessity, the current system will have to be strengthened,” the CM added.