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.
#COVID19 VC @Eatala_Rajender Testing @MoHFW_INDIA @TelanganaCMO pic.twitter.com/TWgBYy82TA
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan) May 8, 2020
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,…