IT and Industries Minister KTR on Thursday evening went live on social media platform Twitter and interacted directly with Twitteratti.
“Let’s do an #AskKTR session exclusively on all COVID related issues & what Govt plans are to tackle the pandemic. Please send in your comments, questions & suggestions,” Tweeted the Minister.
During the session, wishes poured in for the Minister who had recently recovered from Covid19. Many concerned citizens also enquired about his present health status.
During the two hour long session, #AskKTR remained on top trends in India on Twitter.
Responding to a series of questions on ‘vaccination for all’, Minister KTR said, “We are performing better than the national average in vaccination & also better than other states. But the challenge is vaccine availability.” He also shared a chart which mentioned Telangana’s vaccination performance (per million population) at 1,41,939.
When asked about Oxygen cylinders & Remedesiver are being sold at extremely high prices, the Minister said, “Challenge on Oxygen is availability across the country. Govt of India has taken complete control over distribution by state. On Remdesivir, we are doing an audit by private hospital on consumption. Have found some cases of indiscriminate usage & we are also told doctors are under pressure from patients & their attendants to recommend Remdesivir even in those cases where it’s not needed (anxiety for well being of their loved ones). We also made arrests of many persons who indulged in black marketing. Continue to audit & contain unnecessary hoarding.”
Minister KTR in another tweet also said, “We also made arrests of many persons who indulged in black marketing. Continue to audit & contain unnecessary hoarding.”
A concerned netizen stated that there were no availability of vaccination slots for booking, Minister said, “so far in Telangana out of the total 45 plus population of 92.24 lakhs, we have vaccinated 45.37 lakh people with first dose.Second dose has been given to more than 10.3 lakh people. As I had mentioned, vaccine distribution is currently being handled only by Government of India.” He also added that the Govt of Telangana is working on getting increased supplies from GoI & also are simultaneously engaged in discussions with vaccine manufacturers. But the supplies will only start meeting demand across the country hopefully by late July or early August. Till then it’s going to be a challenge, he said.
When asked if essential services window will be open for longer time, Minister responded, “Please remember the 6-10 am window is open every day. Secondly, all e-commerce grocery delivery & food delivery options continue to remain functional. In fact we are getting criticism for keeping the 4 hour window open. But this had been done to minimise inconvenience to people.”
Answering a question on offline classes in coaching centers in Hyderabad, Minister said, “This is an unprecedented situation. Everyone is going through a hard time. When you have an alternative in the form of online coaching, I don’t think you should complain.”
Minister KTR on request of a netizen also shared some tips and relief measures he followed while he was in isolation. His tweet on relief measures read:
1) Follow the advice of medical experts (not WhatsApp experts)
2) Stay strong mentally; plan ahead for post COVID
3) Stop watching news channels & stop reading unnecessary WhatsApp/Facebook posts
4) Exercise as much as you can; even walking if you can
5) Don’t self medicate.
When asked about the right channel for the citizens to seek help related to covid, Minister said, “Please contact 108/104 for all kinds of questions or issues with respect to COVID. Alternately, if you are a GHMC resident, you can also call 040-21111111.”
Sharing his personal experience with Covid, Minister KTR said, “I had 7 consecutive days of low to high grade fever followed by an infection of lungs. As I am a diabetic, controlling blood sugars and hypertension was also a challenge. But just followed the instructions & while I feel weak now am almost back to normal.”
When asked about starting vaccination to the age group above 18, Minister said, “Problem is availability of vaccine. We are making all efforts to procure as much as we can. Right now the focus is to get 2nd dose to all those 45 lakh people who have taken the first jab.”
“We are in discussions with all three vaccine makers; Bharat Biotech, Serum Institute and Dr Reddy Labs. Will do our best to procure as much as we can,” he said, in another tweet.
Responding to a statement on hospitals in Hyderabad being able to treat patients from other states, KTR said, "Our capital city is not only serving people of Telangana but also patients from AP, Karnataka, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. My sincere & wholehearted gratitude to the fabulous efforts of healthcare workers both in Govt & Pvt sector."
When asked about his opinion on taking further his brain-child, the Hyderabad Pharma City, the minister said, "If anything, it showed how important our pharma industry is. Earlier, we had called Hyderabad Pharma City a project of national importance but now clearly it is going to be a project of International importance."
Talking about the procuring vaccine at State level, the Minister stated that the Govt of India has mandated that 85% of all production be handed over to it. From the remaining 15% all states & institutions have to compete. It’s easier to procure for a few hundred employees but the challenge is manifold when your state population is 3.6Crore."
When asked about procurement of Pfizer vaccine from other countries, the Minister said, "Whatever is allowed by the Drug Controller General of India is what we can procure. So far only three vaccines are available; Covaxin, Covishield and Sputnik. Hopefully Pfizer & Moderna will be allowed. By August I am hearing that another Indian vaccine may also be available from BE."
Replying to a serious of questions on improvement of health infrastructure of Telangana in past one year between first and second wave, Minister KTR shared a detailed chart and also said that the Oxygen beds alone were 9213 in September 2020 which now have gone up to 20,739 in May 2021.
When asked about the usage of Gift-A-Smile ambulances donated by public representatives marking the occasion of Minister KTR's birthday, He replied saying, "About 90 of them are already functional and are serving the people in this pandemic."
Responding to a question on vaccination drive in Telangana, Minister KTR said, "Ideally 70% population being vaccinated should break the chain. So out of the 2.9 Cr adult population, we need to vaccinate 1.9 Cr people. Since it’s a 2 dose vaccine, we need 3.8 Cr doses."
When netizens questioned about seeking China's support by using their vaccine Sinovac, the Minister said,"I think we should set aside all inhibitions/egos and work together as humanity during this hour of crisis. Doesn’t matter whether it’s Sinovac or Pfizer or Moderna or something else, as long as it works and helps save lives."