Chandigarh, April 4, 2020-
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) President Sukhbir Singh Badal on Saturday asked Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to do justice to his job by ensuring quality medical treatment was provided to COVID-19 patients in government hospitals.
He also demanded sacking of Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu for the criminal negligence displayed in handling the treatment of Padma Shri and former Hazoori Raagi of the Golden Temple, Nirmal Singh Khalsa, who succumbed to the virus.
In a statement here, the SAD President demanded the Chief Minister apologise to the family of Khalsa as well as the entire Sikh community for ‘denial’ of medical treatment to him as well as denial of cremation at the Verka cremation ground.
“Details of the last telephone call of the Kirtaniya (Khalsa) 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,a he said.
“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 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,a he added.
Making it clear that he did not want to criticise the government for the sake of criticism at such a sensitive time, he said, however, he could not keep quiet also after witnessing the callous attitude of the government towards the suffering of Khalsa as well as other COVID-19 patients, including one in Faridkot who was turned back from the hospital twice. (Agency