SRINAGAR: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha’s advisor of over 8 key portfolios, Baseer Ahmad Khan, addressed a hurriedly-called news conference in Srinagar last fortnight, only to declare to the people of Jammu and Kashmir at around midnight that there was “no shortage of vaccines, oxygen, ventilators or Covid-related medicines” anywhere in the Union Territory.Even as the authorities worked hard to ensure the supply of oxygen and added a number of general beds and ICU beds to several hospitals, there was a flood of complaints about non-availability of all such equipment in the next 10 days. Government Medical College Hospital in Jammu is becoming a dreaded place as 20 to 30 dead bodies of the Covid patients come out every day.People are repeatedly asking the unanswered questions: “Why 3,000 to 3,500 daily infection cases in Kashmir and only 15-20 deaths? Why less than 1,500 daily infection cases in Jammu but 20-30 deaths?” Neither the health authorities nor Khan have answered this baffling question.Even as it was declared audaciously by Mr Khan to the mediapersons that from next day onwards, there would be a flood of Covishield vaccines not only for 60-plus and 45-60 year top priority groups but also the third category of 18-44 years, most of the vaccination centres were found closed. The social media was flooded with the pictures of the billboards at these vaccination centres, in Kashmir as well as in Jammu, that no vaccines were available.Most of the people in the 18-44 group found even the Co-win website blocked for the new registrations which were supposed to start from 1st of May. Reports from across the UT indicate that most of the people going for vaccination return empty-handed and disappointed even after their confirmed schedule of inoculation as the officers tell them there are no vaccines.Interestingly, Khan bragged about the J&K’s “largest order of 1.25 crore vaccine vials”. “We are at the top in placing the order for vaccines in the country, UP comes after us”, Khan claimed in presence of the Kashmir Divisional Commissioner P.K. Pole. More interestingly, Khan’s claim came in 8 hours of the Financial Commissioner Health and Medical Education revealing honestly that the UT’s stock of vaccines was limited and that the Serum Institute of India had asked J&K to wait at least for the next three weeks.Voices from different quarters are now pouring in that LG Manoj Sinha, who seems to be honestly doing whatever possible in the current catastrophic situation, must put in place a better professional mechanism through the Information Department to boost the images of his government and dispel varied impressions rather than putting on the front Advisors, who have a track record of lying to the people as well as to the government.
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