JAMMU, May 12: JKPCC Vice President and former Minister Raman Bhalla on Wednesday appealed LG Administration to urgently adopt measures to protect the J&K’s poorest and most vulnerable people and ensure COVID-19 containment and relief measures adequately.
This was stated by former Minister after meeting several vendors and rehriwallas facing extreme hardships to cope up with Covid-19 lockdown. The lockdown has already disproportionately hurt marginalized communities due to loss of livelihood and lack of food and other basic needs.
“The Government does have a responsibility to protect the health and well-being of the population in this hour of crisis. The closing of state borders have caused disruption in the supply of essential goods, leading to inflation and fear of shortages. The J&K government is facing an extraordinary challenge to protect people, but ramped-up efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in J&K need to include rights protections,” said Bhalla.
“Authorities should recognize that malnourishment and untreated illness will exacerbate problems and should ensure that the most marginalized don’t bear an unfair burden from lack of essential supplies. Bhalla further said COVID-19 vaccination for people over the age of 18 years began in the second phase of India’s vaccination drive amid limited availability of units across the country.
“While the drive continues to go on at the best of its capacity, slots are hard to find, especially for those over 18 and below 45 years of age. The only way to get oneself vaccinated is to register through the government’s official CoWin portal and get a slot booked. Apart from the low availability of slots, the problem is that there is no way CoWin can notify users when a slot is available in their area”, he stated.
Bhalla demanded central government to announce a relief package to provide free food and cash transfers to the poor and vulnerable populations, and health insurance for healthcare workers, among other things.