Centre scuttled efforts to probe O2 deaths: AAP government


By Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  The Aam Aadmi Party government on Wednesday, July 21, 2021, accused the Centre of “hiding” the number of deaths due to lack of medical oxygen during the second wave of pandemic which swept the country in April and May. 

“Thousands of people died due to lack of oxygen in the country, all because of the incompetence of the central government. Instead of taking responsibility for this, it is shamelessly defending itself by lying,” said Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia.

According to the AAP government, the Centre dismissed its proposal to form an inquiry committee to look into the deaths allegedly occurred due to lack of medical oxygen. “The central government is frightened that this committee would put forward its (Centre’s)  mismanagement and shameless lies in front of the public,” added Sisodia.

The deputy CM said if the Centre gives its nod to the inquiry committee set up by the Delhi government, then all deaths reportedly caused due to shortage of oxygen during the second wave of Covid-19 in the city will be independently probed.

“The Centre is repeatedly lying by saying that states have not given them any figures. But, when you will not allow the states to investigate the deaths due to lack of oxygen, where will the figures come from,” he asked. The four-member panel comprising medical experts was set up in June and the files were sent to the Delhi Lt Governor for approval.

The AAP leader said the Kejriwal government, by taking responsibility, tried to form a committee to audit all the deaths that happened reportedly due to oxygen shortage but the Centre “prevented” it through the L-G.Hitting out at the Centre, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said there have been many deaths due to oxygen shortage in Delhi and other places across the country and it was “completely false” to say no one died for want of the life-saving gas.

“If no deaths occurred due to oxygen shortage, why did hospitals move high court one after another every day? Hospitals had been saying that oxygen shortage led to deaths. The media, too, flagged this daily,” Jain told reporters here. “Channels and newspapers reported how hospitals ran out of oxygen. It is completely false to say that no one died due to oxygen shortage,” he said.

The minister said the Centre did not ask for data related to such deaths but the city government had tried ascertaining the number on its own by setting up the panel. “Our government constituted the first such committee in the country, but the Centre, through the L-G, dismissed it,” he said. “The Centre is rubbing salts on the wounds of those who have lost their loved ones. Tomorrow, it will say there have been no deaths due to Covid,” he added. 

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