Senior Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi, while lashing out at Gujarat government on Sunday where COVID-19 cases have risen to 13,664 including 829 deaths, said that "in Gujarat today we don't have a health care system. We have a sick system."
Singhvi, who was addressing a press conference here, said: "The inefficiency of the Gujarat government in handling COVID-19 crisis depicts that it is underconfident and underachieving. It is our duty to bring to the country's attention the deplorable and indefensible plight of medical and health facilities in PM Modi's home state and in part of Home Minister Amit Shah's constituency (4 assembly segments of Ahmadabad fall in Gandhinagar parliamentary constituency)."
"If such powerful people including leaders and controllers of the Central government, themselves are unable to provide medical justice on home ground to the poor and needy people of their home state, what kind of response to COVID-19 can the rest of India expect from them," he asked.
Singhvi further said: "It is seldom that in my legal experience, I have found the words which the Division Bench of the High Court of Gujarat was forced to use for medical conditions in government hospitals in Ahmedabad in its 143-page order dated 22/5/20."
"It noted: Gujarat being "one of worst affected states" in the country due to COVID-19 ( para 5) "lack of PPEs, shortage of ventilators, ICUs and isolating wards..." (para 6), conditions at Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad as "pathetic" (para 48)," The Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad contributes to 62% of total deaths" (62% of total deaths in Ahmedabad with Ahmedabad having 85% plus deaths of all deaths in Gujarat!) (para 48), the death rate in Civil Hospital is almost double that of two other govt/municipality run hospitals in Ahmedabad itself (13% against 7%) (para 48), there is complete "lack of critical care" (para 48) and "there is no single command and control structure in Civil Hospital (para 48)."
Singhvi, quoting the Gujarat High Court's order, further said: "The Health Minister of Gujarat does not seem to be aware of what is going on nor he appears to have ever visited the hospital (page 96, unnumbered para) the hospital "is as good as a dungeon, maybe even worse than a dungeon" (page 96) private testing of COVID-19, even by authorised private institutions has been stopped by GOG, which says tests can be conducted only at govt hospitals (page 117) argument of Gujarat government was that "more number of tests which lead to 70% of population testing positive for COVID-19, thereby leading to fear psychosis!" (page 120) (argument rejected by High Court)."
Referring to the media report, the Congress leader said: "As reported, the High Court remarks are some of the severest, most scathing and harshest strictures ever pronounces. As reported, references have been made to "sinking of the titanic," the "extremely bad shape" of the hospital and the State Government's bizarre intent to "artificially control the data qua the number of cases in the state of Gujarat."
Singhvi said: "We would respectfully ask the PM Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, Central Government, Gujarat Chief Minister -- Are they even aware of what is happening in their own home state? If so, have they ever intervened, chastised or punished the Gujarat government or does the latter have COVID-19 immunity vaccine because they belong to BJP? Have they used similar standards, similar adjectives, similar terms of endearment and similar inspection teams for Gujarat government as for WB govt?"
He further asked: "Why has the Hon'ble Gujarat Governor not adopted the same intrusive standards re the Gujarat Government as his WB counterpart did? Is it not true that by such methods of suppressed testing, transparency and the true nature of the problem is critically compromised, distorted and misrepresented for purposes of the personal image?"
The Congress leader further asked: "Why is the GOG, close on the heels of the "non-existent ventilator scam" elaborated by my colleague yesterday (AICC press release 23/5/20), selling N95 masks admittedly at Rs 65 per mask as against the admitted procurement cost to it of Rs 49.61 per mask, i.e., at a straight profit arbitrage of 31 pc?"
"Why is Gujarat government, on the one hand, profiteering from an essential item like N95 mask, secondly levying steep penalty on those who do not wear the mask in public, thirdly making public hospital spaces like City Hospitals a death trap (worse than "dungeons") and fourthly having a ventilator scam under its nose during COVID-19," he further asked.
"Can such a quadruple whammy be tolerated by the common man of Gujarat and of India? Sadly we and the nation seeks answers which we are confident we will never get," added the Congress leader. (ANI)