New Delhi: Ahead of the Bihar assembly elections, two 500-bed Covid-19 makeshift hospitals will come up in Patna and Muzaffarpur, which will be funded by PM CARES, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Monday.
“PM-CARES Fund Trust has decided to allocate funds for the fight against Covid-19 by way of establishment of 500-bed Covid-19 Makeshift Hospitals at Patna & Muzaffarpur, Bihar by DRDO. This will go a long way in improving Covid care in Bihar,” the PMO posted on its Twitter handle.
PM-CARES Fund Trust has decided to allocate funds for fight against COVID-19 by way of establishment of 500-bed COVID-19 Makeshift Hospitals at Patna & Muzaffarpur, Bihar by DRDO. This will go a long way in improving COVID care in Bihar. pic.twitter.com/AAPEIDDcRc
— PMO India (@PMOIndia) August 24, 2020
The hospital at Bihta, Patna, will be inaugurated Monday, while the other one in Muzaffarpur will be inaugurated “very soon”.
“These hospitals have 125 ICU beds with ventilators and 375 normal beds each. Each bed also has oxygen supply. The doctors and paramedical staff will be provided by the Armed Forces Medical Services,” the PMO further wrote.
The opposition, however, said this should have been done much earlier.
“It is too little too late. At the same time, why have they not included areas like Champaran and Kosi. I would say it is a case of bad optics and poor planning,” Manoj Jha, RJD MP, told ThePrint.
Focus on Bihar
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on Bihar comes in the wake of elections due in the state in October-November. In the last few months, Modi has been focusing on Bihar in his speeches and Mann Ki Baat programmes too.
During his Independence Day speech, Modi had announced Project Dolphin on the lines of Project Tiger and Project Elephant.
Modi had said the aim of the project is to “strengthen biodiversity, create employment opportunities and attract tourism”.
Bihar has two dolphin sanctuaries on the Ganga, one from Buxar to Kahalgaon, and the other stretching from Sultanganj to Bateshwar.
During his monthly ‘Mann Ki Baat’ programme, Modi had praised martyr Kundan Kumar’s family’s ‘spirit’. Kumar, who had lost his life in the Galwan Valley clash in Ladakh in June, was from Bihar.
“You might have seen parents of martyrs referring to sending other sons, other young family members too, to join the Army. The words of the father of Shaheed Kundan Kumar of Bihar keep echoing. He had mentioned sending even his grandsons to the Army to defend the country. This spirit permeates across all martyrs’ families. Truly, the sense of sacrifice displayed by these family members is worthy of veneration,” the PM had said in his 28 June address.
In the next ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on 26 July, the PM appreciated the efforts of self-help groups in Bihar for making masks on which they depicted the famous Madhubani paintings and pearl farming.
“In the present times of Covid, we have witnessed how the youth and women of our country have come up with new experiments on the basis of their talent and skills. In Bihar, many women self help groups have begun making masks with Madhubani motifs… by and by, they turned out to be very popular. These Madhubani masks, in a way, propagate a regional tradition; besides protecting health, they also create opportunities for livelihood,” he had said.
Bihar polls crucial for BJP
In yet another episode of ‘Mann Ki Baat’ on 31 May, Modi while talking about the government’s flagship programme Ayushman Bharat, had said: “An important feature with the Ayushman Bharat scheme is its portability facility.”
He added, “This portability of the scheme has also helped to paint the country in the colour of unity, which means, an underprivileged person from Bihar will get the same medical facility in Karnataka, which he would have got in his home state. Similarly, if a deprived person from Maharashtra is in need of medical treatment then he would get the same treatment facility in Tamil Nadu. Due to this scheme, the underprivileged in any area where the system of health is weak are able to seek the best medical treatment in any corner of the country.”
Bihar elections are crucial for the BJP as they come after a series of losses the party has been suffering in state elections since 2018. The BJP lost the 2019 Jharkhand and 2020 Delhi elections too and was unable to form its government in Maharashtra despite emerging as the single-largest party.
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