A day after Uttarakhand Congress MLAs called on governor Baby Rani Maurya accusing the government of not allowing them to speak in the assembly session held on Wednesday, the BJP government on Friday blamed the opposition party for creating a ruckus in the House that stopped it from replying to issues raised by the Congress.
Urban development minister and state government spokesperson Madan Kaushik, during a press conference at the state secretariat in Dehradun on Friday, said: “The government was willing to give an answer on the four issues — inflation, Covid-19, unemployment and law & order — raised by the Congress but it was the Congress that created a ruckus in the House exposing their groupism.”
“After that, they went to meet the governor on Thursday accusing us of not allowing them to speak. It was completely wrong as we wanted them to express their opinion on the major issues. Due to the ruckus, we couldn’t put our answers but are doing it today through the media,” said Kaushik.
On Covid-19 handling, he said, “At present, the government has over 35,000 beds for Covid-19 infected people, including 31,000 Covid-19 isolation beds of which only 6,000 are occupied as of now. Similarly, out of 2,759 beds with oxygen supply, 1,896 are vacant while out of 636 ICU beds, 449 are available and of the total 605 ventilators, 598 are still unused.”
He also said that the state’s testing rate was 53,244 per 10 lakh people which, he claimed was “better than that of states like Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh. We are way ahead than the Congress-ruled states in this”.
The minister revealed that during the pandemic, the government recruited 709 health staff including doctors and paramedics to boost the health facilities.
“The state has 440 Covid-19 treatment facilities at present with 10 dedicated Covid-19 facilities and the number is increasing.”
On inflation, Kaushik said the price of fuel in the state was lower than the Congress-ruled states and the government has managed to control the prices of essential commodities like rice, wheat, sugar and other grocery items during this pandemic.
Accusing the Congress of not supporting the government during the pandemic in controlling it, Kaushik said, “Instead of supporting the government in its efforts to control the pandemic, the Congress during the lockdown was busy in agitating.”
“Also, they didn’t contribute a single penny in the CM relief fund to help the people but were busy demanding the details of the funds collected which we even disclosed without any hesitation,” said Kaushik.
The Congress, however, described the minister’s comments on the debate in the House as “ridiculous”.
Congress MLA Qazi Nizamuddin said, “We had demanded a debate on Covid-19 issue in the House in which all the members present there could speak. But they didn’t allow it and are now presenting figures before media saying they wanted to do it during the session which is ridiculous “
Nizamuddin said the debate, if allowed, would have highlighted a number of “irregularities” in handling of the pandemic by the government.
“By holding the debate on the pandemic, we wanted to discuss the numerous irregularities that have come to light during its handling by the government machinery. The government could have themselves invited us to do that but they chose the other way,” said Nizamuddin.