Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government at the Centre of having created a 'barrier' by increasing the prices of COVID-19 vaccines, the Congress in Karnataka on Sunday demanded that free vaccination be provided to all citizens.
The principal opposition party also questioned the Yediyurappa government for not announcing vaccines free of cost yet for all.
"Instead of encouraging people to get vaccinated, BJP govt at centre has created a barrier by increasing the prices of vaccines. (PM) Narendra Modi, instead of PR events like 'Tika Utsav', ensure free Covid19 vaccination to everyone," leader of opposition in Karnataka assembly and Congress leader Siddaramaiah tweeted.
State Congress President DK Shivakumar said India is probably the only country which is discussing vaccine prices, when it's being given for free across the world.
"Why has Karnataka govt still not announced FREE VACCINATION for all? I demand that free vaccines be given to all citizens & a roll-out plan be shared asap," he tweeted.
According to sources, the Karnataka government is likely to decide on vaccinating people of state, free of cost.
The state government on Thursday decided to purchase 1 crore doses of Covishield vaccine at a cost of Rs 400crore, in the first phase.
The central government had recently announced that the vaccination for those above 18 years will begin across the country from May 1 as part of the third phase of the inoculation drive.
With government giving manufacturers and importers pricing freedom, Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII) is the manufacturer of Covishield vaccine said vaccines will be priced at Rs 400 per dose for state governments and Rs 600 for private hospitals.
Hyderabad-based vaccine major Bharat Biotech said it would provide its COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, to state governments at Rs 600 per dosage and to private hospitals at Rs 1,200.
In a series of tweets Siddaramaiah also hit out at state BJP leaders for celebrating the 5kg free rice scheme announced by PM Modi, but the same leaders made all attempts to end Anna Bhagya scheme introduced by the Congress government led by him, which provided 7kgs of free rice.
"This is an example for Karnataka BJP's sickness," he said.
The Centre on Friday had decided to resume providing free food grains to 80 crore poor beneficiaries in May and June to help them tide over the economic hardship in the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, a move that would cost the exchequer around Rs 26,000 crore.