WHO Has Appreciated UP Model; Our Recovery Rate Reflects There Is No Data Fudging Taking Place: Yogi Adityanath

by Swarajya Staff - May 31, 2021 06:18 PM +05:30 IST
WHO Has Appreciated UP Model; Our Recovery Rate Reflects There Is No Data Fudging Taking Place: Yogi AdityanathYogi Adityanath’s battle with Covid-19 in Uttar Pradesh.

In an interview with Economic Times, Uttar Pradesh (UP) Chief Minister (CM) Yogi Adityanath answered questions with regards to the handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the state.

Currently, the TPR (total positivity rate) in the state is 0.6 per cent, one of the lowest in the country, down from 22 per cent in April; while the recovery rate is 97 per cent. The state has managed to the arrest the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Around 2 crore vaccine doses have been administered in Uttar Pradesh with a population of 23 crore. CM Adityanath informed that the state will be opening up vaccination for 18-44 age category in all 75 districts from first June.

COVID-19 Vaccination

Regarding vaccinations, the chief minister said that the state had started the preparing for a possible third wave.

“I just toured the state for that purpose. UP has built post-COVID wards in every district for free treatment to those reporting complications even after their COVID report came negative. We are also building 100-bed and 25-bed pediatric ICUs in medical colleges and district hospitals, respectively. We have also begun to train manpower for the same,” he said.

“We have started building special booths for parents of children below 12 years. This category is more exposed to the virus as they go to work and must be inoculated in preparation for the third wave,” he added.

He further said that both the government as well as the ruling party - BJP - are engaged in serving the people.

“We are now scaling up our vaccination booths from 2,500 centres to more than 5,000 from June 1. There will be a waiting area and observation area made in these booths where BJP workers will help. They are also assisting in ration distribution under the PM Garib Kalyan Package. They are also filling the gaps in distribution of medicine kits in villages,” he said.

With regards to the global tender to procure vaccines for the state, the chief minister said that some companies had showed interest in the pre-bid that took place.

“Covishield and Covaxin manufacturing companies said that they are supplying through the central government route. Sputnik, Pfizer and Moderna have shown interest. We have extended the dates, made some changes in our tender also. A lot of the companies want the Government of India to get involved, so Centre has started work on that front,” he said.

Oxygen Sufficiency

CM Yogi said that the state had managed the demand of oxygen without complaining about the disproportionately low allocation of oxygen by the union government.

“UP has 25 crore population but was allotted 700 MT oxygen per day. Delhi has a population of 1.75 crore but was forcefully allotted 700 MT oxygen. When the issue of audit came up, Delhi government pulled back. In UP, the state government had itself tasked seven institutions including IIT Kanpur, IIM Lucknow, IIT BHU, among others for oxygen audits across the state. In Delhi, despite getting adequate oxygen, there was mismanagement, adverse events took place. The courts had to intervene,” he said.

“We never opposed Delhi getting oxygen, like from the Inox plant in Modinagar in UP. We were able to manage from other sources allotted by central govt, from Jamnagar, Uttarakahand, Jamshedpur. We made sure there was no crisis in the state and we lent to Delhi as well,” he added.

The chief minister said that it was irresponsible to spread panic amidst the pandemic, and he admitted that while the state did face acute shortages for a few days, soon, the Centre started allocating oxygen through rail and air force. “For the future, we are setting up more than 400 oxygen plants across the state,” he said.

Accuracy of COVID-19 Data

When asked about the accusations of under-reporting of deaths and cases in the state, CM Yogi said that the people making such accusations are "oblivious to facts and ground realities”.

“All data entry is taking place online, linked through a national software. Also, it is not just our state machinery working here. There are agencies like the UNICEF and WHO, besides central agencies, which are also in the field. WHO has deployed 2,000 workers here,” he said.

He also told the interviewer that WHO had also appreciated the UP model of door-to- door survey, testing and provision of medicine in rural areas, and that the NITI Aayog has asked other states to replicate it. “A model cannot develop without any substance in it,” he said.

He further added: “Our recovery rate reflects there is no data fudging taking place. If we were doing so, the recovery rate would have been lower. With 3.5-4 lakh, we are also testing the most number of samples in the country every day.”

The interviewer further questioned CM Adityanath about the visuals of bodies floating in the Ganga and buried in the sands, and whether they reflected under-counting of the bodies.

The chief minister said that the hospitals were linked with an online portal where they have to update COVID deaths, and while there could be delay in uploading but the hospitals couldn’t simply hide the data as they are held accountable.

“Also, if people are dying and numbers are being hidden, then someone will come out to speak up against it, right? Aisa nahi hai ki koi mar jaaye aur chup chaap uska daah sanskar kar diya jaaye. (It is impossible that someone dies and people just silently cremate him) That just cannot happen,” he said.

“The entire system is transparent. Uttar Pradesh would, perhaps, be the first state where all hospitals are under central CCTV surveillance. I can monitor the happenings in a hospital in Gorakhpur through my tablet in Lucknow,” he told the interviewer.

“Look, we are facing a rare global pandemic. But still, some people want to use it to play politics. People will give them a befitting reply,” he added.

Bodies Floating In Ganga

The chief minister said that the visuals of floating bodies in rivers precede the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were a result of a variety of customs that go back to the ancient times found in India regarding the dead.

“Floating dead bodies in the river is seen as a means to salvation by some. If you look at traditions followed by monks, all three types of tradition co-exist — cremation, burial as well as jal pravah. These traditions exist even among those who are married, as well as in communities like Dasnami Sampradaya, Giri, Puri. Communities residing by the rivers especially take to this kind of practice,” he said.

“You would have seen these visuals in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and before that too, when there was no COVID.. there was a furore on this in 2014, also in 2015 when it became a big issue in the media. We had run awareness campaigns under the Namami Gange regarding these traditions,” he added.

He further informed that during the first wave of the pandemic, the state government had allocated funds to the Gram Panchayat which could spend up to Rs 5,000 for cremation in such cases if the family couldn’t afford it

The CM further said that in the second wave, the administrative machinery was preoccupied, and the people also ignored the traditional rules regarding tying the body with heavy weights so it would sink and not float in the river.

“..because the COVID scare was so high, even non-COVID patients that may have been cremated this way, were done without following these norms. Usually, entire villages accompany the dead for cremation but this was not so during this wave,” he said.

He then told the interviewer that the government had now formed committees headed by gram pradhans and heads of municipal corporations to make sure bodies are not floated in the river. “Besides starting a campaign, we have deployed SDRF units, PAC flood units to patrol these areas,” he said.

Recovering From COVID

The chief minister said that while the pandemic had rendered a setback to the economic growth of the state, the government was focusing on developing infrastructure on a war footing - be it Purvanchal Expressway, Ganga e-way, Bundelkhand e-way etc.

“UP was the sixth largest economy in 2014-15. We have brought it to the second spot. In last four years, more than 3 lakh crore has been invested in the state. Since March 2020, we have got Rs 75,000 crore worth investment,” he said.

“Besides the Jewar Airport, we are also waiting to operationalize the Kushinagar international airport where work is almost complete. Ayodhya too is getting an international airport. Besides, under the Udan scheme, work is on for developing 17 new airports in districts like Sonbhadra, Azamgarh, Shravasti, among others,” he added.

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