Is Telangana testing enough? War of words breaks out between TRS, Oppn

Is Telangana testing enough? The question is now at the centre of a political controversy: the central health minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, recently raised the issue, and the Congress and the BJP — both opposition parties here — have accused Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao of hiding and manipulating facts.

Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government, on the other hand, has denied the allegations and accused the opposition of doing politics during a pandemic.

The state government said it was “on par” with the US and the UK in doing accurate testing, in response to a recent tweet from Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

It said it was following guidelines from the ICMR, India’s top medical research body.

But the state BJP said the chief minister was downplaying questions on testing at press conferences.

BJP leader Krishna Sagar Rao said there was a “clear pattern of wilful neglect” on the part of the TRS government.

“While all other states in India are declaring the number of tests per day in the ICMR-prescribed format to keep the public informed, the TRS government is acting quite indifferently during this serious public health crisis.”

– Krishna Sagar Rao, BJP

He also alleged there were “visible and serious attempts” to underreport coronavirus deaths in the state.

“By not testing and not linking any deaths to Covid-19, the state government seems to be attempting a complete cover-up of the virus spread and its disastrous impact in the state of Telangana,” Krishna Sagar Rao said.

The Congress, too, is on the attack.

M Shadhidhra Reddy, a senior party leader and former chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, is alleging a lack of transparency on data sharing and instrument procurement (and procurement of other accessories).

He said a team of doctors recently met a visiting central team and complained about the Telangana government.

T.R.S. HITS BACK

The TRS, on its part, has accused the Opposition of playing politics during a pandemic.

“Telangana is not doing an unreliable TrueNat test but following the ICMR-recommended RTPCR test which is treated as the gold standard of testing worldwide. Can the Union government release state-wise RTPCR test data and clear the air?” asked party leader M Krishank.

Referring to a recent letter sent to Telangana’s chief secretary by the Union health secretary, he said,…

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