New Delhi:Delhi Chief Minister Shri Arvind Kejriwal on Wednesday said that in order to defeat COVID, all states, UTs, and the Central government should work as Team India. He assured the Prime Minister that all Chief Ministers are ready to take any responsibility, but the Central government should fulfill its responsibilities as states cannot fulfill those responsibilities. He added that the central government has put its responsibility of buying vaccines on states, yet not a single state had been successful in buying vaccines. CM Shri Kejriwal said that in this war against COVID-19, the Centre cannot abdicate its responsibilities and leave behind individual state governments. He said that the central government is responsible for purchasing and supplying vaccines. Shri Kejriwal said that as a country, India cannot lose this war against COVID; if the Central Government fails it is not BJP’s failure, but India’s failure, and similarly if the Delhi government fails, it is not AAP’s failure, but India’s failure.
CM Shri Arvind Kejriwal said, “Vaccines for those between 18-44 have gotten over in Delhi. For the past four days, vaccination centres for the young have been shut. Covaxin for the elderly has also gotten over. While we’ve written to the Central Government, the vaccines have not yet arrived. This is not just the case with Delhi but across the country. In a pandemic situation, we should ideally be opening new centres every day, but that’s not happening. We’re facing an acute shortage of vaccines in the country, and I think in the past few months certain huge mistakes have been committed. If the people in India had been vaccinated at the right time, then possibly the effect of the second wave could have been reduced, several lives could have been saved, several homes could have been saved from destruction.”
He said, “The second wave has proved to be extremely deadly for the country. Barely a single family has remained untouched by COVID. India got delayed by six months. Six months ago, many countries across the world had already begun vaccinating their people on a mass scale. We made a huge mistake at that time. Instead of vaccinating our own citizens, we began exporting vaccines to other nations.”
He said, “The scientists of India made the world’s first vaccine. We should have started producing vaccines on a war footing right then, and begun vaccinating our citizens on a mass scale. Had we vaccinated the country at that time, we might have been saved from the wrath of the second wave. We cannot correct now whatever wrong has been done. I’m particularly saddened by the fact that we’re still not operating with a level of urgency. The second wave started in March, and we should’ve had vaccines from all over the world and should have administered them to the people, but at that time all states were told that they should look out for themselves, make arrangements for themselves, and states worked towards procuring vaccines.”
He added, “I’ve been in touch with Chief Ministers of several states, and none of them has left any stone unturned to procure vaccines. In the last two months, every state has been working towards arranging vaccines. From what I’ve learnt, not a single state has been able to arrange for even one extra dose of vaccine, leave alone the vaccines given by the Central Government. Apart from those, no state has been able to arrange vaccines for even a single dose from a single company, all of whom have clearly stated that they will not communicate with the state governments but will deal directly with the Centre. Many state governments issued global tenders and failed. Why is the country not buying vaccines? Currently, India is battling the COVID pandemic, and in such a situation, state governments cannot be asked to look out for themselves. If tomorrow , Pakistan declares war on India, states cannot be asked to look out for themselves – UP should buy its own tanks and Delhi should buy its own weapons.”
He said, “India cannot lose this war at any cost, and no government can lose this war. If the Central Government loses, the Bharatiya Janata Party will not lose, India will lose. If the Delhi Government loses, the Aam Aadmi Party will not lose, India will. If the Maharashtra Government loses, the Shiv Sena would not lose, India will. This is the time for India to work harmoniously and not engage in competition with different state governments. This is the time when the governments of 36 states and Union Territories, along with the Central government should work together as Team India.”
Shri Kejriwal said, “I’d like to assure the Prime Minister that all the Chief Ministers -- rising above petty party politics -- are working along with you like soldiers of the nation. You give us the responsibility, and we will fulfill all of them, but how can we execute the work that is not ours to do? The Central government has to execute its own work. You procure the needed vaccines and distribute them to each state -- administering them is our duty, which we will fulfil. The country has lost six months. If we delay it any further then no one knows how many more homes will be destroyed and how many more lives will be lost. To defeat COVID-19, we need to work together as Team India.”