Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has raised the alarm over oxygen shortage in hospitals during the second wave of COVID-19 infections, saying that a “big tragedy” may happen. He urged the Centre to take over all oxygen plants through the Army.
In a high-level meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Kejriwal requested him to direct chief ministers of all states to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to the national capital. He said people are in major pain due to oxygen shortage.
“We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi,” Kejriwal said. “We need a national plan to deal with the crisis. Central government should take over all oxygen plants through the Army and every tanker coming out of the oxygen plant should be accompanied by an Army escort vehicle.”
The Delhi CM said oxygen supply scheduled to come to Delhi from Odisha and West Bengal should either be airlifted or brought through the Oxygen express started by the centre. He also objected to different rates being charged from state governments and the Centre for the COVID vaccine, and said “one nation one rate” policy should be followed.
However, sources, as per PTI, in the central government alleged that the Delhi CM used the high-level meeting to play politics. “He raised the point of airlifting oxygen, but did not know that it is already being done. He spoke about Oxygen Express by Railways, but Railway sources say he has not communicated anything about it to the Railways. He chose to spread lies on vaccine prices despite knowing that Center does not keep one vaccine dose with itself and shares with states only. All CMs spoke about what they are doing to improve the situation. However, Kejriwal had nothing to say on what he is doing,” the source said.
The prime minister is expected to hold a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers in the country via video conference amid concerns expressed by some states that their supply of the life-saving gas is running short with a number of hospitals sending SOS.