200 doses of Vero Cell vaccine found in Birtamod hotelVarious political parties, business entrepreneurs and local residents have protested against Birtamod Municipality’s mismanagement of Covid-19 vaccines.
Members of political parties, student unions and business associations in Birtamod have protested against Birtamod Municipal Office after finding 200 doses of Covid-19 vaccines in a local hotel.
Local residents found the 200 doses of Vero Cell vaccines hidden in the Timeless Moment Hotel in Birtamod on Friday. The discovery came at a time when people have been complaining about vaccine shortage and long queues in vaccination centres in Birtamod.
“We are struggling to get vaccinated while the employees and representatives of Birtamod Municipality are providing vaccines to their family members and relatives from the hotel,” said Poshraj Kautwal, a resident of Birtamod.
On Saturday morning, local youths padlocked the main gate of the municipality.
Activists from Nepal Students Union and All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union have demanded authorities to take action against Om Bahadur Khadka, focal person of Covid-19 in the municipality; Dhruba Kumar Shiwakoti, mayor of the municipality; and Tulasi Pokharel, chief at the health section of the municipality for irregularities and hiding Covid-19 vaccines in the hotel.
“Two hundred doses of Covid-19 vaccine were found in the hotel. We will continue to protest against the municipal officials until they are booked,” said Santosh Upreti, a central member of the Nepal Student Union. “The Covid-19 focal person Khadka, who took the vaccines to the hotel, should be arrested immediately.”
Members of various political parties also protested against the incident in Jhapa on Saturday. Nepali Congress, Nepal Maoist Centre, Janata Samajbadi Party Nepal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party and Janamorcha have issued a joint statement demanding action against the guilty.
The Birtamod Chamber of Commerce and Industry has also demanded action against Khadka and his team for mismanagement of Covid-19 vaccines.
“We have requested the authorities to provide vaccines to the business community time and again but they refuse, citing vaccine shortage. Hiding Covid-19 vaccines at a hotel is not only deplorable but also a criminal activity,” said Raju Neupane, the senior vice-chairman of the Birtamod Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Those involved in the incident should be punished immediately.”
Meanwhile, the District Administration Office in Jhapa has formed a five-member committee led by Assistant Chief District Officer Trilochan Rimal to investigate the incident. The meeting of the District Covid-19 Vaccine Management Committee chaired by Chief District Officer Shrawan Kumar Timilsina formed the probe committee with the mandate to submit its report within seven days.
The meeting has urged the municipal office not to involve Om Bahadur Khadka, the Covid-19 focal person of Birtamod Municipality, in any vaccination-related activities until the probe committee submits its report. The meeting also instructed the District Health Office to make public the details regarding Covid-19 vaccines.