NEW DELHI: Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday said the 21-day countrywide lockdown was necessary to contain the spread of novel coronavirus outbreak, but the implementation of the measure by the Union government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has been unplanned.
Gandhi has been highlighting that the Centre needs to take more steps to make the lockdown easier for migrant labourers, the poor of the country, farmers and the middle class.
“The 21-day national lockdown may have been necessary but the unplanned manner in which it has been implemented has caused chaos and pain in the lives of millions of migrant workers all over India.It has been heart-breaking to see lakhs of people walking for hundreds of kilometres towards their villages without food or shelter," Gandhi said while addressing the first-ever virtual meeting of the party's apex decision making body – Congress Working Committee (CWC).
“As far as the covid-19 is concerned, there is no alternative to constant and reliable testing. This is the most effective way to combat it…The onus lies on governments to ensure that the spread of infection and casualties are not caused owing to lack of infrastructure or preparedness," Gandhi said, adding that the union government should make public data on availability of medical supplies, designated hospitals, number of beds, quarantine and testing facilities.
In her address, Gandhi also urged Congress leaders and workers to offer help to families at extreme risk by providing them shelter, food and medicine.The party veteran urged the Centre to implement the Common Minimum Relief Programme which would address the needs of all sections of the society.
The CWC virtual meeting was attended by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh, former union minister P Chidambaram, among others.
Chidambaram, in the meeting, said that the union government has failed to grasp the enormity of the issue and that Congress should engage constantly with the government but also point out the shortcomings, Randeep Singh Surjewala, Congress’ senior leader and communications department chief said in a post Twitter.