Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to address all political leaders and instruct them not to play politics in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, said a statement issued by his office.
Thackeray’s request to Modi came a day after Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan lashed out at Maharashtra and some other states, accusing them of “trying to divert attention from their poor vaccination efforts by just continuously shifting the goalposts”.
The BJP and MVA have been engaged in a war of words over the vaccination shortage in Maharashtra over the last few days.
Assuring the PM that the state has increased testing to a large extent and that it would be further increased, Thackeray requested for additional supply of vaccines as well as oxygen and ventilators from other states. Maharashtra could improve vaccination numbers further if the proposal sent by the state government about allowing Haffkine Institute to produce the vaccine was approved soon, he added.
Thackeray said the rise in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra was mainly due to the Gram Panchayat elections and wedding ceremonies. “Suddenly, an outbreak of the virus started in some parts of Vidarbha, infecting the several families in it. While the state was returning to normal, the infection was exacerbated by mutations in the virus,” said Thackeray, while speaking in the video conference meeting called by PM with CMs of states to take stock of Covid cases and vaccination.
The CM also said that the state has kept a target to vaccinate about 1.77 crore people in the priority group for which supply 40 lakh vaccines per week is required. “So far, the state has received 1.06 core doses of which 92-95 lakh doses have been given till today. At present, Maharashtra has very few stocks and some centres are closed,” said Thackeray.
“The Centre has said that 17.43 lakh doses will be given after April 15. But it will hamper the vaccination drive. So, the complete demand should be given as per our demand,” said Chief Minister and reiterated his demand of vaccinating all the people above the age of 25.
He further said that the state is in dire need of oxygen — around 1700-2500 MT will be required by the end of April. Also, the daily use of Remdesivir injections will go up to 90,000 to 1 lakh by end of April, considering the rise in Covid cases. The Centre should provide additional 1200 ventilators, he added.