The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) today expressed alarm at Punjab recording the highest mortality rate of COVID-19 in the country and said this itself was indicative of the failure of the government in tackling all aspects of the disease be it safety kits, hospital infrastructure or patient care.Talking to newsmen here, former minister Bikram Singh Majithia said it was shocking that Punjab had the highest average COVID mortality rate of six per cent in the country even as neighbouring States had mortality rate of one percent or less. He urged chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to order an immediate fact finding report on this issue and take emergent steps to reduce mortality rates. Mr Majithia also asked the Punjab government to rejig its entire strategy and said it should follow the Kerala model rigorously. He said Kerala had reduced mortality rates as well as COVID positive cases by tracking down all people associated with COVID patients and isolating them. He said besides this the government should ramp up its PPE kits, do more testing and improve hospital infrastructure. "Unfortunately corruption has started even in the purchase of PPE kits with doctors in Amritsar refusing to don recently purchased PPE kits. A thorough inquiry is needed on the issue".
Stating that Punjab could also take a leaf from Haryana's strategy which had gone in for aggressive testing and improving hospital infrastructure to limit mortality rate to one per cent only, Mr Majithia said in Punjab health staff were still demanding PPE kits and patients were complaining of poor hygiene and lack of proper treatment. "The State has still not acquired the needed ventilators and it is because of all these issues that the situation has got out of hand in Jalandhar and other areas". He pointed out that no tests were being done in Mandis during ongoing wheat procurement.He also castigated the government for deducting Rs 750 from salaries of employees on account of COVID fund.Mr Majithia also asked the Punjab government to remove restrictions on starting paddy transplantation only from June 15 in view of severe shortage of labour. He said the government should also encourage mechanised transplantation by giving 75 per cent subsidy on paddy transplanter. He said the government should also purchase transplanters and give them to cooperative societies so farmers could avail of the same.Mr Majitha condemned the illegal sale of liquor in the State, saying this was being done under the patronage of Congress leaders. He also condemned the recent case of cow slaughter indulged in by Congressman Samson Masih.