On Saturday, Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir demanded an ex gratia payment of Rs 4 lakh to the families of COVID-19 victims, alleging that the mishandling of the pandemic took a heavy toll on people across the country.
Mir expressed concern over the recent spike in new cases and demanded adequate measures to deal with a possible third wave of the pandemic. "We are taking up (with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha) the issue of compensation of Rs 4 lakh to the kin of COVID-19 victims via a memorandum and are writing to him today itself," he told reporters here.
Mir said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had suggested to the government that a compensation of Rs 4 lakh be paid to the families of those who died of COVID-19. "It is the duty and responsibility of the government to safeguard the public. The response of this government was lackluster during the first wave and pathetic when the second wave hit the country, resulting in more loss of lives,” he said.
He said the states being ruled by the Congress or its allies have expressed their readiness to contribute Rs 1 lakh per person, out of the proposed Rs 4 lakh compensation. "The BJP-ruled states should follow suit and promise the amount to the Covid-hit families as many families lost their bread earners due to mishandling of the situation,” Mir said. He alleged that the central government is not revealing the real number of COVID-19 deaths in the country.
The recent spike in new cases in different parts of the country demands that the government make preparations in advance to tackle a possible third wave, he said. However, he alleged, the government is itself violating the guidelines and norms and using it to suppress the voice of the opposition.
"According to government guidelines only 25 persons are supposed to gather for any function, but the guidelines are just for opposition parties and those earning their livelihood by running banquet halls. BJP leaders are free to violate (the guidelines) and can gather any number of people at their rallies and official functions which was visible during the visit of union ministers (to Jammu and Kashmir) under a public outreach programme,” he said.
Asked about the government decision to repeal three contentious agri laws, he claimed that the BJP dispensation buckled under “political heat to save its neck” in view of the upcoming assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh.
-With PTI Inputs