The scam-era of India is far from over. In states where opposition parties are in power, corruption, administrative apathy, malpractices and illegalities are becoming the order of the day. What would be abnormal for states would be to do something right over a prolonged period of time. Almost every non-BJP ruled state has somehow landed in hot soup recently for flagrant violations and corrupt practices. States like Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi and Punjab are leading the way in making the lives of people hell. Interestingly three of these states are ruled by the Congress party.
Covid-19 has brought the best and worst in many of us. But for governments in states cited above, the trend has been to largely exhibit their worst possible behaviour. Take Maharashtra for instance – where the absolute ineptitude of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government has led the state to become the Covid-capital of India. In April, TFI had brought to light how the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was helping incoming international travellers escape institutional quarantine of seven days for hefty prices.
Further, when Biovet Pvt Ltd. sought the Maha Vikas Aghadi government’s approval for a new vaccine manufacturing site, the deputy conservator of forests (Pune division) allegedly at the behest of CM Uddhav Thackeray pointed out that the area in question was a reserved forest. This was allegedly a consequence of Bharat Biotech not agreeing to the MVA government’s brazen demand of Maharashtra being supplied with 50 per cent of the doses manufactured at the new Pune facility. The vaccine manufacturer then approached the Bombay High Court and won the case against the Shiv Sena-led government.
BJP MLA from Mulund, Mihir Kotecha had last month alleged that a vaccine scam is taking place in Mumbai, wherein individuals who did not receive their vaccine doses were being provided with provisional certificates by the Maharashtra government.
The quantum of malpractices and illegalities reported from Maharashtra is so high that summarising them in one report is not possible. So, let us move to the next state, which is ruled by the Aam Aadmi Party. In Delhi, the Kejriwal government had recently vehemently opposed the centre’s request to the Supreme Court asking for the conduct of a detailed audit on the oxygen usage in the national capital. After the Supreme Court gave a nod to the audit, the daily oxygen requirement of Delhi miraculously came down, thus exposing how the AAP government was inflating the city’s oxygen demand and creating paranoia around the lack of sufficient oxygen deliberately.
Right under the AAP government’s nose, a massive oxygen concentrator hoarding racket was flourishing, which was exposed by the Delhi Police. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) after raiding the premises of Navneet Kalra and Gagan Duggal in connection with its money laundering probe into the hoarding and black marketing of oxygen concentrators, not only recovered 150 foreign brand liquor bottles but also unearthed over 7,000 oxygen concentrators – imported from China which were sold to people at exorbitant prices by falsely claiming that German technology was used in the manufacturing of the oxygen concentrators.
As reported by TFI previously, according to the invoices, each Oxygen concentrator had been procured in bulk from China and Hong Kong for not more than Rs 14,000 – Rs 16,000 and was being sold in India between Rs 50,000- Rs 70,000.
In Rajasthan, the Congress government led by Ashok Gehlot has allegedly done absolutely nothing to ensure that vaccine wastage comes down. According to reports, Rajasthan is comfortably leading the vaccine wastage race with a total of 11.5 lakhs which amounts to 7 per cent vaccine doses that have been wasted in the Congress-ruled state. The numbers coming in from Rajasthan’s districts are startling, to say the least, with the district of Churu reporting the highest loss of vaccine at 39.7 per cent. Churu is followed by Hanumangarh with 24.60 per cent, Bharatpur at 17.13 per cent and Kota at 16.71 per cent vaccine wastage.
On May 31, Dainik Bhaskar had exposed the absolute sense of apathy towards vaccines in Rajasthan, where at least 500 vials containing no less than 2,500 doses were procured from the dustbins of vaccinations centres by reporters of the media outlet. Moreover, as recently as on Thursday, Dainik Bhaskar also reported that not only were the vaccines being thrown in the garbage but they were also being buried haphazardly, deep in the ground, across several hospitals in the state.
हे भगवान । वैक्सीन ज़मीन में ही गाड़ दी । अब भी शर्म नहीं आ रही राहुल गांधी जी ? pic.twitter.com/2LjTBBan5J
— Laxmikant bhardwaj (@lkantbhardwaj) June 3, 2021
Also, an appalling development had come to light from Rajasthan, where life-support ventilators belonging to the PM Cares Fund pool were being leased out by government hospitals to private institutes at exorbitant rates – the burden of which unsuspecting patients had to incur.
Punjab, also ruled by the Congress, most recently hit the headlines after it was found that the government was selling Covaxin doses to private hospitals in the state from its own pool of vaccines – thus earning grand profits out of the scheme. These vaccines, procured by the Punjab government directly from the manufacturer and thereafter sold to private hospitals at an astronomical rate have brought forward the vaccine scam out of the state. By selling Covaxin doses to private hospitals at ₹ 1,060 per dose, while itself paying only ₹ 400 to Bharat Biotech, the Punjab government ran a brazen profit of ₹ 660 per dose. The private hospitals, meanwhile, profited ₹ 400 per dose, as Covaxin was being sold in such hospitals at ₹ 1,560 per dose.
Meanwhile, in states like Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Tamil Nadu too, the situation seems far from comforting. Jharkhand has recorded wastage as high as 37.3 per cent, while Chhattisgarh came second with 30.2 per cent and Tamil Nadu reported 15.5 per cent wastage. It is imperative to note that the national average of doses being wasted is only 6.3 per cent.
While the people of such states thought that a crisis would knock some sense into their leaders, evidently, the character of opposition parties, especially the Congress seems to be getting the better of the administrations in such states.