Union Health Minister Orders Immediate 25% Increase In Punjab Vaccine Supplies In Response To Punjab CM’s Request

New Delhi/Chandigarh: Responding to Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh’s urgent request for more vaccine supplies in view of the forthcoming festival season and the 26 lakh cases of people overdue for second Covishield shot, Union Health & Family Welfare Minister on Wednesday ordered immediate increase in Punjab’s allocation by 25%.

The Chief Minister had, during a meeting with the Union Minister, sought supply of 55 lac doses of Covid vaccine on priority for his state. Mandaviya assured the Chief Minister of all help in this regard and said that while supplies would ease from next month, he would fulfill the state’s requirement by Oct 31 and ordered the department to immediately increase Punjab’s allocation to meet its urgent requirement.

The Chief Minister said with sufficient supplies, the state government could arrange to vaccinate 5-7 lakh people daily.

He pointed out that allocation of vaccine for Punjab for the month of August currently stood at only 20,47,060 doses of Covishield, while around 26 lac doses of this were required just for those whose second dose was overdue.

Citing data, the Chief Minister said Punjab has relatively very less allocation of vaccines (and hence very low per capita vaccination) as compared to the other states, and needs to be increase to cover more population and catch up with the others. He urged the Minister to ensure immediate supplies of both Covishield and Covaxin.

As of August 7, 2021, Haryana’s per capita vaccination stands at 35.2, Delhi’s at 39.4, J&K’s at 43.7, Himachal Pradesh’s at 62.0 and Rajasthan’s at 35.1, as against 27.1 for Punjab. The Chief Minister observed that Punjab has, till 7th August, received only 1,00,73,821 doses, as against Haryana (1,27,94,804), Delhi (1,06,79,728), J&K (66,90,063), Himachal Pradesh (55,51,177) and Rajasthan (34,954,868).

The Chief Minister further sought access for the state to the COWIN portal for analytical purposes.

Captain Amarinder also urged Mandaviya to considerably favourably Punjab’s request for setting up a Bulk Drug Park at Bathinda in response to the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemical and Fertilizers. The state government had applied in October 2020 to set up the park over 1320-acre land at Bathinda, with the Council of Ministers approving attractive incentives for the same, he pointed out, adding that all conditions of the Union Ministry had been

The proposed incentives include: Power @ Rs 2 per unit, CETP Charges @ Rs 50/KL, Water @ Re 1/KL, Steam @ 50 paise/Kg Solid Waste Treatment @ Rs. 1/Kg, Warehouse Charges @ Rs. 2/sq. Feet and Annual Park Maintenance at Rs. 1/sq. m. In addition, the incentives available under State’s Industrial & Business Development Policy will also be applicable, said the Chief Minister.

During the meeting with the Union Minister, who holds additional portfolio of Chemicals & Fertilizers, the Chief Minister also reiterated his government’s demand for enhanced allocation of DAP stocks to Punjab, as per the revised demand by the State. Suppliers should be directed to ensure that adequate supplies are given as per schedule, he told the minister, reiterating the points he had raised yesterday in this regard during his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

The timely availability of DAP would greatly help in reducing panic buying and black marketing, which would bring a bad name to both the State and the Central Governments, the Chief Minister emphasized.

Increase in the cost of phosphatic fertilizers subsumed by the Government of India into the subsidy only till October 31, 2021, would cause firming up of DAP prices in the international market, he pointed out, adding that, coupled with the uncertainty about the extent of subsidy, this was leading to apprehension of a likely shortfall of DAP in the ensuing Rabi season. Punjab requires 5.5 Lakh MT of DAP for the forthcoming Rabi season. About 50% of the total requirement is supplied through cooperative societies in the state. Since the consumption of DAP is mostly limited to a short period from the last week of October to the third week of November, when about 80% of the area under wheat is sown, it was necessary to preposition DAP in different parts of the State by the middle of October to avoid any last-minute shortage and resultant delay in sowing, stressed Captain Amarinder.