TN govt underreporting Covid deaths, says ex-CM Palaniswami


Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and leader of opposition in the state Assembly, K. Palaniswami, on Friday accused the state government of underreporting Covid death figures, and said that only factual reporting would make people aware of the actual situation.

In a statement issued on Friday, the AIADMK state coordinator said that long queues are seen near the crematoriums in Tamil Nadu, but the figures reported in the news media are low.

Palaniswami also said while the AIADMK is not doing politics on the issue and comments should be made only after 100 days of the new government, he was forced to act due to the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the criticisms levelled against the previous government.

Palaniswami said, “Patients who die in ambulances while waiting at hospitals must be tested for Covid-19. If they test positive, their bodies must be safely packed before handing them over to the relatives.”

The former Chief Minister also said that there is an acute shortage of medical professionals in the state, including doctors, nurses and other technicians, adding that the existing healthcare workers are tired of performing their duties continuously.

Palaniswami also said that around six lakh people returned to their villages from the cities prior to the stringent lockdown was imposed in the state, but they were not tested for Covid-19.

“During the AIADMK regime, when people arrived at villages from cities, they were tested for Covid-19 and were allowed entry to their homes only if they tested negative. This helped in curtailing the spread of the virus in the villages,” he said.

Palaniswami said that on Friday, his village Edappadi alone recorded 17 positive cases which is an example as to how fast the disease is spreading across rural Tamil Nadu.

He also advised the state government to follow the measures taken by the AIADMK government and called upon the government to conduct fever camps and increase testing and testing centres.

The former Chief Minister denied the charges levied by state Health Minister Ma Subramaniam that the previous AIADMK government had failed to prevent the spread of the disease.

Quoting figures, Palaniswami said that the highest number of cases reported during the AIADMK rule was 6,900 in June 2020, which came down to 481 on February 26, 2021.

The senior leader also appealed to the state government to provide relief and immediate assistance to the farmers affected by rains caused by cyclone Yaas in Kanyakumari.

Claiming that there is a shortage of oxygen beds in Kanyakumari district, the former CM said, “While there are only 3,800 beds available in the Covid-19 care centres, the government has claimed that 11,500 beds are available. The district collector must report on bed availability in the Covid care centres and hospitals so that people could directly go there.”