Coronavirus | 12 parties protest mishandling of COVID-19 in Odisha

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As many as twelve Opposition political parties staged a demonstration on Friday protesting against the alleged failure of the Naveen Patnaik government in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The leaders submitted a 17-point memorandum of understanding (MoU) to Governor Ganeshi Lal and requested him to intervene in issues affecting the general public.

“When testing is crucial in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, it is unfortunate that both the Central and State governments are not attaching importance to the issue,” said Niranjan Patnaik, president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee.

“The Chief Minister had himself announced that the number of tests will be increased to 15,000 per day. However, the infection is spreading fast as the government is releasing migrant workers without testing them,” Mr. Patnaik said.

Ali Kishore Pattnaik, CPI (M) State secretary, said, “Livelihoods of small traders, street vendors, theatre artists and labourers in the unorganised sector have been badly affected during the pandemic. They should be provided assistance of ₹10,000 immediately.”

Political parties were peeved over allegations of corruption in purchase of drugs and safety. Leaders called for an impartial probe and demanded that the persons responsible for corruptions be taken to task.

They also said all families should be given a monthly allowance of ₹7,500 at least for the next six months. The State government should take steps to make small industries operational again, they said.

Apart from the Congress and the CPI (M), the CPI (M-L), CPI, Aam Aadmi Party, Nationalist Congress Party and the Rastriya Janata Dal also took part in the demonstration.

Reacting to the combined demonstration, the ruling Biju Janata Dal said the Opposition parties were struggling to retain their identity. “Despite the rise in the number of COVID-19 cases, the Odisha government has been taking novel steps to contain the spread,” said Pramilla Mallick, senior BJD leader.

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