Kolkata, May 5 (PTI) Shortly after taking oath as the chief minister of West Bengal for the third consecutive term, Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to facilitate free vaccines for all in a “transparent and time-bound manner”.
Banerjee, in her letter, also expressed concern over the dearth of oxygen cylinder in West Bengal, and stressed that the current health system “will have to be strengthened”.
“Considering the severity of the matter in its entirety, I would like to request you to kindly look into free vaccination as universal immunisation for all in a transparent and time-bound manner (sic).
“At present, vaccine availability is too inadequate… and the central government’s direction to extend vaccination up to 18 years makes it unrealistic. So supply of vaccines is the core issue that needs to be addressed now,” she said.
In the letter, Banerjee said that she is again writing to him on the issue considering the huge proportion that several aspects of the COVID-19 management including adequate vaccines, number of hospital beds, medicines and oxygen for all patients have assumed in the country.
“You may kindly recall my letter of February 24, 2021, when I had requested you to allow Government of West Bengal to procure vaccines from designated points for providing vaccination to people of the state free of cost. This has not been addressed,” the letter read.
The chief minister said that as it is likely to take time to install the 70 Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) units allotted to West Bengal, the current system will have to be strengthened to meet immediate necessity.
Assuming that the daily consumption of oxygen in the state might reach 500 MT per day in a week from the current usage of 400 MT, Banerjee requested Modi to advise the authorities to allocate the same amount of the life saving gas per day on an urgent basis.
In the letter, she also referred to the increasing need for Remdesivir and Tocilizumab in the state.
“I firmly believe that this battle against COVID will be won with coordinated and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders in augmenting infrastructure and an earnest drive for universal vaccination free of cost,” Banerjee said