Today is the lockdown day in Chennai as in many parts of the Country. I am also locked down in my house and as usual reading the writing. In midst of this I am receiving so many calls from different parts of the Country from our Union Leaders about non availability of beds in the Hospitals and Oxygen. Some are almost crying.I feel helpless for the first time in 40 years of public life. Just I have received another phone call from Kanpur that one of our senior leader just expired in the Hospital due to COVID infection. This provoked me to write this piece of article.
The Country is in a serious tsunami of COVID-19 pandemic. Rulers of the Country are busy in election campaigning, feeling proud of large gathering of people in their election rallies setting aside all COVID-19 protocols and then feeling happy by blaming each others. People of the Country are helpless, crying for life,
Country is running shortage of life saving Oxygen. A totally failed administration. This forced to the judiciary to intervene. Delhi High Court has to step in and have come down strongly on the Government. The Delhi High Court observed “Human life are not that important for the state”, “Beg, borrow or steal it is a national emergency”, “We are shocked and dismayed that the Government does not seem to be seem the reality. What is happening? Why is the Government not waking up to the reality”. The Court said. The Court has also told “As a state you cannot say, that look we can provide this much and no more, so if people die let them die. That cannot be acceptable and that cannot be an answer of the sovereign state. We will have to enforce the fundamental rights of the people and direct. We can’t see people dying”.The Delhi High Court not satisfied with the ritual reply of the Government has gone to the extent of telling, “if any one objects Oxygen supplying, we will hang that
In another case the Calcutta High Court censured the Election Commission over its handling of the mammoth eight phase election in Bengal in the middle of COVID-19 pandemic. The Court stated “The Election Commission is empowered to act, but what is it doing about polls in these COVID times. The Election Commission is just
passing Circulars and leaving it to the people. But, the Election Commission has implementing Authority. The Court also commended that the Commission is not doing what one tenth of T.N.Sessan has done. The Court warned that if the Election Commission does not take action, the Court will take.”
The Government was also praise for itself in handling the pandemic situation. The BJP National Executive told in February, 2021 that India keep running a successful fight against COVID, but it set an example infront of the World for what work can be done during the pandemic.
Today, the death number is crossing 4,50,000. The death rate is going to increase as the Hospitals have been running out of Oxygen and during this period the Country exported more than 9,000 Metric Tonnes of Oxygen. Why the decision makers in the Government has not bothered to forecast the situation. Why no responsibility is fixed for such a foolish decision. For all the foolishness of the decision makers the people are paying the price. There is no planning and there is no proper execution. Recent Report says that the Department of Health & Research which deals with epidemics and its outbreak has become a lame duck. 24 posts of the 42 sanctioned posts in this Department are lying vacant. Ultimate result is dead bodies are being accumulated for cremation. While our Country’s leadership is busy addressing massive and innumerable political rallies without any protocol and preventive measures, the beurocrats in Delhi are busy in preparing Cabinet Note / Noting Sheets for destroying the national assets like Ordnance Factories, Railways, Public Sector Banks, Insurance, LIC, Public Sector Industries, Public Health System and Public Distributiom System etc. Are the people of the Country safe in the hands of such indifferent people? They don’t listen to any body; good advises are neem seeds for them. Critics are branded as “Anti National”. They feel happy in insulting opposition leaders, opposition Chief Ministers, Trade Union Leaders and even the former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has given some constructive suggestions to manage the crisis.
As a Senior Citizen with more than 40 years experience in Public life, I can only appeal to the big people sitting in South Block and North Block both political leadership and beurocrats please understand the situation, footpath have become cremation ground, acute shortage of Hospitals and beds, in the available Hospitals,
Doctors, Medicines, Oxygen and Vaccine etc. People are dying like birds affected by Swine Flu. Is it “Aatmanirbhar Bharat”. Is importing Oxygen “Make in India”. People are sitting and counting the number of death. There is a total fear complex and panicky. Daily I am getting message somebody who is close to me and somebody who is known to me is no more. COVID-19 virus has taken them away. Many are being tested positive and running pillar to post for admission and treatment. Please do
not waste your time and energy in preparing Cabinet Notes and Noting Sheets for corporatizing the Government Departments and privatizing the public sectors. These all are national assets. Only these assets will come to the rescue of the country during a crisis and disaster, which has been proved several times. The workforce of these
Government sector and public sector are devoted and committed, if you motivate them they will do wonders.
I would like to quote here what Ramachandra Guha the reputed Historian has told “The Government could actively reach out to scholars who understand the vulnerabilities of Farmers and Labourers far better than the economists sitting in North Block”. What is required is the decision makers should set aside pride and prejudices and put the needs of the nation above political interest and benefits. Leading News Paper The Telegraph in its recent Editorial has stated “The scale of the crisis, the nation is at war with a virus – make it imperative for the Central Government to be collaborative in its approach. It is this shared support of cooperation that has
helped the Country stand together during many a crisis in the past – Medical, Political or Economics”.
Let us hope that some good wisdom will prevail and steps will be taken to bring the nation together to overcome the crisis and save the precious life the people.
Views expressed here are those of C.Srikumar, Convener of the Public Sector Trade Unions of AITUC