Congress says COVID deaths suppressed in Karnataka, demands relief as per NDM Act

The Karnataka unit of the Congress on Wednesday alleged that the BJP government in the State has suppressed the number of COVID deaths. The party said the government, instead of giving Rs 4 lakh as mandated under the National Disaster Management Act, has decided to pay only Rs one lakh to below poverty line families which lost its earning member to COVID.

Addressing reporters, the Congress party’s Maharashtra in- charge and former minister H K Patil said till June 14, 33,033 people had died of COVID as per the government’s account. “But, between January 1, 2021 to June 13, 2021, 3,27,985 deaths have taken place, according to state government’s records. The point here is there is a gap between 33,033 and 3.28 lakh. Have so many natural deaths taken place in the State? This seems unlikely,” Patil said.

Alleging that the government did not make public the report of deaths in 2020, he said the 2018-19 figures show that between January and June, 88,000 deaths had occurred. Even after extrapolation, at most one lakh or 1.10 lakh deaths should have taken place in 2021 but 3.28 lakh deaths is beyond imagination, Patil charged. “If we deduct the 1.10 lakh deaths, the total deaths will be 2.18 lakh, which is an increased figure. It means two lakh to 2.5 lakh deaths have been suppressed, which is inhumane,” the veteran Congress leader alleged.

He further alleged that the government stopped publishing the monthly death report and medically certified cause of death report of 2019-20 and 2020-21. Speaking about the compensation, Patil said under the Section 12(3) of NDM Act mandated an ex-gratia of Rs four lakh on account of loss of life, damage to houses and for restoration of means of livelihood.

“Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had recently announced a relief amount of Rs one lakh but why was it reduced from Rs four lakh to a mere Rs one lakh? You are liable to give this compensation or relief of Rs four lakh, which is mandatory under the NDM Act,” Patil said.

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