Updated: June 27, 2021 9:51:02 pm
The opposition Congress in Karnataka on Sunday said that it has handed over a relief amount of Rs 1 lakh each to the families of Covid-19 patients who died after the Chamarajanagar District Hospital ran out of oxygen supply on May 2 and 3.
During his visit to Chamarajanagar on Sunday, state Congress chief D K Shivakumar said, “While the government initially said that only three people died, we discovered that 28 had passed away due to oxygen shortage here,” he said.
Further criticising the BJP-led government, he said, “These are not deaths, but murders committed by the government. No action has been taken regarding these murders.”
He said, “We were forced to come here seeing their distressing condition and to provide them relief of Rs 1 lakh from our party. Even if the chief minister could not make it, why didn’t the ministers come and meet these families?”
Earlier in May, a fortnight after the incident was reported, the Karnataka government had announced a compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the families of 24 Covid-19 patients who died in the hospital. “…However, the issue whether there were only 24 deaths due to the lack of oxygen and the question of adequacy of compensation will have to be gone into the next date,” the Karnataka HC had observed then.
The oral observation was also mentioned in the order copy issued by the Karnataka government, dated May 21, announcing the compensation.
Shivakumar remarked, “Realising the responsibility of the Opposition, we have done a lot to reassure these people. I have utmost respect for the people of the state and for the Karnataka High Court. The relief of Rs 2 lakh was later announced for the affected families.”
Meanwhile, the Covid Monitoring Committee of the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA) submitted a report to the HC stating that the toll in tragedy might have been 36, and not 24.
“The hospital authorities have declared the death of 62 persons between 4-5-2021 till 6-15 am of 10-05-2021. Out of them, at least 36 persons were shown to be in-patients as on 2-5-2021. The death of these 36 in-patients could be attributed to the non-availability of oxygen supply during the night of 2-05-2021 and early hours of 03-05-2021,” the committee led by former HC judge Justice A N Venugopala Gowda noted.
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