Punjab: SAD holds sit-in near Health Minister Sidhu's residence, demands his removal from cabinet

CHANDIGARH: The opposition SAD on Monday staged a sit-in near the residence of Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu in Mohali and sought his dismissal from the cabinet over the “diversion” of coronavirus vaccine to private hospitals.

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) chief Sukhbir Singh Badal accused the Congress-led government of “making money” by selling vaccine to private hospitals.

On the one hand people are dying of COVID-19 and on the other, the Congress government is busy “making money” by selling vaccine, he charged.

Badal asked Chief Minister Amarinder Singh to dismiss Sidhu for the alleged “vaccine scam”.

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The Punjab government had last week asked private hospitals to return all vaccine stock meant for the 18-44 age group, following criticism.

Badal also targeted the chief minister and said he was not bothered about the plight of people during the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said the chief minister was apprised of overcharging by private hospitals from Covid patients and “black marketing” of medicines and injections, but he had done nothing to prevent this.

Several senior SAD leaders, including Prem Singh Chandumajra, Sharanjit Singh Dhillon, N K Sharma and Daljit Singh Cheema, were present at the ‘dharna’ that continued for more than two hours.

Some leaders of the SAD youth wing also held a protest outside the official residence of Sidhu in Chandigarh.

Opposition parties have been attacking the Amarinder Singh-led government for allegedly diverting COVID-19 vaccine to private hospitals.

The Punjab government on Friday had issued an order to take back vaccine doses given to private hospitals.

The health minister had then said that the instruction of providing one-time limited vaccine doses to private hospitals had been withdrawn.