Centre should release funds to states from PM Cares Fund to deal with COVID-19: Sena

Sanjay Raut charged that from September 1 onwards, the Centre has stopped supplies of medical equipment like PPE Kits and masks, putting an additional burden of Rs 350 crore on the Maharashtra government.

By   |  Published: 17th Sep 2020  5:25 pm

New Delhi: Stressing that there should no politicisation of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, the Shiv Sena on Thursday asked the Centre to release money to states from the PM Cares Fund and also clear GST dues to help them deal with the coronavirus situation.

During the second day of discussion in Rajya Sabha on the pandemic and steps taken by the Centre, Sanjay Raut (Shiv Sena) took exception to the criticism by some BJP leaders, including Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, of the measures taken by the Maharashtra government to control the pandemic.

“More than 30,000 people have recovered from COVID in Maharashtra. How did it happen?,” he said. In an apparent dig at Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal, Raut said did those people recover by eating “Bhabhi Ji Papad”.

Meghwal had come under fire after he reportedly claimed that the ingredients of a papad brand ‘Bhabhi Ji Papad’ helps in formation of antibodies needed to fight COVID-19.

Raut further said all states were doing their best to deal with the pandemic.

It’s not that opposition ruled states like Maharashtra, West Bengal and Delhi were doing bad, and only BJP-led NDA states were excelling in the fight, he added.

“We should not be pointing fingers at each other,” he said, and stressed that the Shiv Sena has been been maintaining that the battle against COVID has to be fought under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He charged that from September 1 onwards, the Centre has stopped supplies of medical equipment like PPE Kits and masks, putting an additional burden of Rs 350 crore on the Maharashtra government.

If the Centre wants the states to fight the COVID battle on their own, it should clear all GST dues, he demanded.

The PM Cares Fund too is for all states, and money should be released to them, he said.

His party colleague, Priyanka Chaturvedi, a first time MP, also expressed disappointment over politicisation of the fight against the pandemic.

She said every single state has been asked to take care of medical equipment on their own “Considering that state governments are already under tremendous financial burden of not getting their due GST, how do you expect the states to give its response,” she said.

Chaturvedi wanted to speak with her face mask off. However, on insistence of Deputy Chairman Harivansh, she put it back and participated in the discussion.

Praful Patel of the NCP, which is in a coalition government with the Shiva Sena and the Congress in Maharashtra, voiced concern over the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the country and called for a joint effort to deal with the pandemic.

He said all states have been following the central guidelines on lockdown as well as the unlocking process.

“When we all are fighting together, there is no need of pointing fingers at each other,” Patel said.

He said the states were facing a fund crunch and sought release of GST dues from the Centre.