As Covid-19 desperation and panic spread in Goa as a result of the post midnight deaths at GMC, Goa Forward president Vijai Sardesai lashed out stating, “it is clear that the Govt has blood on its hands, and accountability for this atrocious state of affairs is strikingly absent. We have a rudderless, directionless, clueless leadership that does, even at this critical juncture, nothing but hospital visits and photo-ops! The CM’s visits to the GMC and SGDH have achieved nothing; except to be showcased as shameless and worthless PR exercises, or perhaps as a drama enacted as a prelude to his takeover of the health portfolio. Of course, to strip a cabinet colleague of his portfolio is the CM’s prerogative but do not sacrifice more Goan lives to win an internal power struggle with Vishwajit Rane in the ruling party. Your petty politics don’t matter to us now, Goemkar lives do”. The GFP President was addressing the media following the High Court verdict invoking Article 21-–the Right to Life—on a PIL on oxygen shortage in the early hours of the mornings causing 26 and 21 deaths on two consecutive days at the GMC.
A visibly concerned Fatorda MLA demanded a High Court monitored task force of experts and competent local Goan officers be set up as it seems to be the only effective way forward in this Covid crisis, pointing out to a Govt Order appointing IAS Officers including the Director of Industries as Nodal Officer for allocation and management of oxygen for all hospitals in the state.
Sardesai urged the Government to utilise Goan officers in this war-like situation, and also make use of the experience from within the opposition ranks. “Let us unite against this raging Pandemic! Let us import vaccines through a global tender like Orissa did, if Serum Institute isn’t going to supply us” said Vijai, referring to the global tender for Covid19 vaccines floated by the Govt of Orissa post a cabinet decision taken on 10th May. “Let us follow Kerala’s and Mumbai’s models” said the GFP President pointing out to the successful models working in both these cases inspite of their high positivity rates. Listing various suggestions, he said “Let us utilise the 2 vacant floors of SGDH for 200 more beds which can be accommodated on these floors which also has 40 washrooms for sanitary requirements”. Vijai added that since the HC has invoked Article 21 of the Constitution, we must hold all those whose negligence caused, and continue to cause, so many Goemkar deaths, to account. “Those who have lost their lives are Goemkars to whom justice must be done”. Sardesai also took objection to the CM constantly blaming the hapless patients coming to the hospitals at the last minute as the reason for high mortality. “The appointments for testing take 3 days, reports take another 2 days, and by the time the elusive kits for home isolation reach the patients, they are already in deep trouble. Further, their situation is aggravated by the very limited number of ICU beds, and non existent data on their availability. “The Govt had failed in everything they set out to do: in testing, tracing, vaccination and treatment, and have so far done too little too late costing precious lives.” He added, “Nothing short of a court monitored task force comprising experts and Goan officers, and not politicians, will see us through. This has become imperative and urgent, and can make the difference between life and death in this mostly man made Covid Crisis that Goa is facing now”. Vijai stated.