Sukhbir Badal asks CM to do justice to his job, ensure quality medical care to COVID-19 patients

Chandigarh, April 4 – Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal today asked chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to do justice to his job by ensuring quality medical treatment was provided to COVID-19 patients in government hospitals even as he demanded the immediate sacking of Health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu for the criminal negligence displayed in handling the treatment of renowned Kirtaniya Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa.

In a statement here, the SAD President demanded the chief minister apologise to the family of Bhai Khalsa as well as the entire Sikh community for denial of medical treatment to the Padam Shri Ragi as well as denial of cremation at the Verka cremation ground. “Details of the last telephone call of the Kirtaniya with his family members has shocked and agonised the Sikh community. The Padam Shri disclosed that he was being denied treatment and that no one had attended to him for four hours and even said his last farewell to his family members in utter despair. Later the family members disclosed that the Amritsar government hospital which had housed Bhai Khalsa was most unhygienic and that nurses did not have any gloves for protection and that it did not have even thermometers”.

Sukhbir Badal said the lack of preparedness of the Health department as well as failure to provide Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to doctors and nurses was an indictment of the Health minister and the chief minister should sack him immediately. “The chief minister should also intervene and hold meetings with the health staff and provide them all required testing kits, medicines and ventilators to take care of Coronavirus patients as well as PPE kits for all medical staff. We cannot allow Coronavirus patients in Punjab to die due to total neglect in government hospitals”, he added.

Making it clear that he did not want to criticise the government for the sake of criticism at such a sensitive time, Badal said however he could not keep quiet also after witnessing the callous attitude of the government towards the suffering of Bhai Khalsa as well as other COVID patients including one in Faridkot who was turned back from the hospital twice. He said even though so many days had passed since Bhai Nirmal Singh was denied medical treatment and subsequently even last rites at Verka the chief minister had not deemed it fit to take any action in the matter. He said at Verka a Congress councillor who was also a government employee had locked the gates of the cremation ground but no action had been taken against him. “The chief minister has not taken any action against the Health Minister despite the fact that doctors and nurses have been protesting since days at not being provided with Personal Protective Equipment. Also, no action has been taken into the case of criminal negligence which led to the death of Bhai Khalsa”.

Asking the chief minister to get his act together, Badal said right now there were few cases of COVID-19 in Punjab. “Woe betide if the cases increase substantially in the coming days. The government has proved it is woefully ill-prepared to deal with a large influx of COVID-19 cases. It must take corrective steps on a war footing and ensure that it does not fail other Coronovirus patients as it failed Bhai Nirmal Singh Khalsa”, Badal added. 

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