Karnataka’s Chamarajanagar district has withdrawn its controversial “no vaccination, no pension” initiative after a hostile reaction from state Congress. To maximise vaccination, the deputy commissioner of the district had announced the ‘no vaccination, no ration’ drive as a part of which people could not avail free rations and pension unless they were vaccinated against COVID-19.
MR Ravi, Deputy Commissioner of Chamarajanagar, told ANI that Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Antyodyaya cardholders (around 2.9 lakhs in number) in the district needed to be vaccinated to avail free ration.
Ravi had also announced ‘no vaccination, no pension’ under which the 2.2 lakh pensioners in the district would not get their pensions if not vaccinated. Further, he said that the banks were duly instructed for the execution of the scheme.
Even though the administration took the step to ensure full vaccination in the district, the opposition parties raised voices over the possible repercussions. As a response to the criticisms, Ravi clarified that the administration had decided to withdraw the drive. He mentioned that the district administration had never given official orders for the programme.
Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President D K Shivakumar had criticized the decision taken by the in-state BJP government in his tweet by calling the move “illegal, unethical, unconstitutional.”
Trinamool Congress’s Saket Gokhale also showed his disapproval by tweeting that he would file an RTI application to find out the total vaccine stock available this week in Chamarajanagar District.
He further blamed the BJP government’s incompetency for the 36 deaths due to the lack of oxygen.
“They want to punish those who don’t take the vaccine, but they should first apologize for not arranging oxygen, vaccines, tests, compensation for deaths,” he said.