The Centre gave only 12-14 hours to the Delhi government to furnish data on deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second COVID-19 wave, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday, a day after he had claimed no such communication was received by it.
Sisodia’s statement came after Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya questioned the Delhi government’s claim of not having received any letter from the Centre inquiring about deaths due to oxygen shortage and tweeted the communication sent by his ministry on July 26 in this regard.
In the communication received by the Delhi government on July 26, the Centre gave time till noon of the next day to file the data, a mere 12-14 hours time frame, Sisodia said in response to Mandaviya’s tweet.
Sharing a snapshot of the mail sent to the Delhi government on Twitter and addressing Sisodia, Mandaviya had earlier in the day said it is not too late and he can send the data by August 13 so that the health ministry can reply to Parliament on the issue.
Sisodia claimed the time given till August 13 was not mentioned in Centre’s letter.
“It was never mentioned that the data can be submitted by August 13. If there is any such letter that says so then it must be shown by the Centre,” Sisodia said in a statement.
The Delhi government will “soon” submit a report to the Centre on the issue of deaths due to oxygen shortage in Delhi, he added.
Sisodia, who is also the nodal minister of the Delhi government for COVID-19, had on Tuesday claimed that the Delhi government had not received any letter from the Centre inquiring about deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second COVID-19 wave.
Last month, opposition parties had hit out at the government for informing the Parliament that no deaths due to oxygen shortage have been specifically reported by states and Union Territories during the second COVID-19 wave.
The central government at a press briefing on Tuesday said only one state has till now reported “suspected” deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of COVID-19 after the Centre sought the data from them on such fatalities following the raising of the issue in Parliament.
“When the question was raised in Parliament, states were specifically asked this question and as per reports received only one state mentioned suspected death and no state has so far said that there were deaths because of oxygen shortage,” Joint Secretary in the Union Health Ministry Lav Agarwal had said while replying to a query.
According to the sources, 13 states and UTs including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Punjab have responded to the query by Tuesday.
They said only Punjab has reported four “suspected” deaths due to oxygen shortage.
There were reports of deaths of COVID patients due to a shortage of oxygen in some hospitals in Delhi during the second wave of Coronavirus in April-May this year. Business Standard