A political war of words has erupted between Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Leader of Opposition Digambar Kamat over the issue of Covid-19 management in the state which had registered a record 2,293 infections over 24 hours on Sunday.
While Sawant has urged the Opposition not to play politics over the pandemic, Kamat has claimed that on the contrary, Sawant and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have been politicising Covid-19 management efforts in the state.
“The Goa Chief Minister has taken objection to criticism from the Opposition and said that there should be no politics over Covid-19, but the BJP and its party workers are obsessed with ‘utsavs’. At a time when the state government should have created infrastructure to tackle Covid-19, it insisted on organising showcase events like ‘taali bajao’, ‘thali bajao’ and ‘utsavs’,” Kamat said, referring to the ‘Tika Utsav’ initiative launched by the BJP across India.
“The Goa government must come up with an effective action plan to control spread of the virus,” the Leader of Opposition said.
Kamat also said the state government made no efforts to create infrastructure to battle the pandemic between the first and second Covid waves, adding that, in order to curb the infection rates, the Goa Chief Minister should put restrictions on the influx of people into Goa.
“It is clear that the government did not do anything in the last one year between the first and second waves is evident by the fact that people are dying because of non-availability of oxygen to fight the crisis,” Kamat said.
“There needs to be control on influx of people into Goa. The state government needs to make compulsory Covid-negative certificates for people entering Goa,” he added.
Sawant, however, maintains that the spike in Covid-19 cases on Sunday was on account of clearing of a backlog of test results which were delayed.
“The high number of deaths due to Covid-19 today is painful and a serious concern for us during this second wave. We are giving the best healthcare facility to treat Covid-19 patients and are consistently working to upgrade the same,” Sawant said.
“However, the increased number of Covid-positive cases is due to the clearance of backlog and the same is expected to continue for the next two days. Urging citizens to strictly follow all Covid-19 appropriate norms and get vaccinated,” the Goa Chief Minister added.