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Wednesday, August 04, 2021

‘Soon they will say Covid was never there’: Oppn leaders hit back at govt’s ‘no death due to lack of oxygen’ claim

BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said, No one said that there were deaths due to the lack of oxygen in their states.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 21, 2021 11:01:02 pm
Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramaniam and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Prabhuram Choudhary admitted that there were oxygen shortages but said that did not lead to any death.(Express file photo by Nirmal Harindran)

A day after the Centre told Rajya Sabha that no death due to lack of oxygen was reported from any state or union territory during the second wave of the pandemic, opposition leaders hit back at the government saying there are plenty of media reports that paint an opposite picture.

Criticising the government, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain told reporters, “After a few days, they [the Centre] will soon say that Covid-19 was never there. If there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen, why were hospitals going to the High Court every day regarding shortages? This is completely false…Lots of people died [of lack of oxygen]…The media was showing live that these deaths were happening, it was being printed in newspapers and it was true,” he said, speaking to reporters on Wednesday.

“We had formed an audit committee to compile complete data of every death caused by lack of oxygen and to give them compensation of Rs. 5 lakh, which the Central Government stopped through the Lieutenant-Governor. And I think the reason for this was so that they could say later that there were no deaths… Tomorrow they will say that there were no deaths in Delhi and the country because of Covid,” Jain added.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday that the Delhi government did not have any data regarding the deaths due to a lack of oxygen supply because the Centre had not let it form a committee to look into the deaths of people who had died allegedly due to the lack of oxygen in April-May.

“I have hundreds of messages from hospitals telling me about the lack of oxygen and that if they do not get stocks, patients would die. Were they lying?” said Sisodia

Rajasthan Health Minister Dr Raghu Sharma was quoted as saying by ANI, “There’s been a shortage of oxygen. CM sent three ministers to Delhi to demand a specific amount of oxygen during the shortage. We needed 600 metric tons but we just received 400. Our management was good so we averted huge mishaps.”

As reported by PTI, Sharma had on Tuesday said that the Rajasthan government had managed to “control” the first and second waves of coronavirus.

“During 2nd wave, we made arrangements while fighting pressures. We received the Centre’s support and oxygen allocation was increased. We facilitated oxygen in all hospitals. Congress doesn’t want to help people. They only raise issues during Parliament,” Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey said, ANI reported.

As reported by The Indian Express, amid oxygen shortage the director of one of the state’s three dedicated Covid facilities, the Nalanda Medical College and Hospital, had in April requested to be relieved of his responsibilities as there was a “disruption” in oxygen supply and he would have been held responsible if any patients died.

Tamil Nadu Health Minister Ma Subramaniam and his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Prabhuram Choudhary admitted that there were oxygen shortages but said that did not lead to any death. “There have been no deaths due to lack of oxygen. We had completed all arrangements. CM facilitated oxygen through roads, railways and air. There were indeed problems over oxygen supply, but the govt promptly made arrangements,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.

Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Bharati Pravin Pawar had on Tuesday told the Rajya Sabha, “Detailed guidelines for reporting of deaths have been issued by the Union Health Ministry to all states/UTs. Accordingly, all states/UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis. However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen has been specifically reported by the states/UTs.”

(With agency inputs)

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