Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia (ANI photo)

Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia (ANI photo)
Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia (ANI photo)

NEW DELHI: Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said on Wednesday that the central government had ‘shamelessly’ lied in Parliament about no deaths being caused by the lack of oxygen during the second wave of Covid-19 infections.

Sisodia alleged that people lost their lives due to the Centre’s ‘failed management system’.

Responding to a question on whether a large number of Covid patients had died on roads and hospitals due to shortage of oxygen during the recent Covid upsurge, Bharati Pravin Pawar, Union minister of state for health and family welfare, told Parliament in a written answer, “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 death due to lack of oxygen has been specifically reported by the states/UTs.”
At a digital press conference on Wednesday, Sisodia said, “During the second Covid wave, there was a situation of panic in the whole country due to lack of oxygen. People were dying and all this was the result of the failed management system of the central government. Instead of taking responsibility, the Centre shamelessly lied that there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen in Parliament yesterday.”

Sisodia alleged that oxygen distribution system policies formulated by the Centre on April 13, without any planning behind them, caused a massive oxygen crisis across India. Delhi recorded more than 13,000 Covid fatalities in the months of April and May.

The deputy CM said that Delhi Government constituted a committee to investigate deaths caused by oxygen deprivation with the aim to give an assistance of Rs 5 lakh to families of such deceased, but the central government had rejected the formation of this committee through an order of the lieutenant governor. “The Centre was afraid that its oxygen mismanagement and the truth of its inefficiency would become public knowledge through this committee,” he asserted.

He also accused the central government of repeatedly lying by saying that states hadn’t submitted any figures about oxygen deaths. “When you don’t allow the states to investigate such deaths, where will the figures come from? If the central government has the courage and wants the oxygen deaths investigated, I challenge it to let Delhi government’s inquiry commission carry out its work,” Sisodia said.

In a separate press briefing on Wednesday, Delhi’s health minister Satyendar Jain said that the central CoWin portal didn’t have any column where the reason for a death could be recorded and the Centre doesn’t ask for any such data from the state governments either. “Even then, Delhi Government tried to find out the number of deaths caused by lack of oxygen, but the Centre stopped us,” he claimed.

Jain added, “Many hospitals in Delhi moved the high court and said they had run out of oxygen. After the intervention of the Supreme Court, a lot of lives were saved, especially in Delhi. Had the high court and the Supreme Court not got involved, then we would have seen a dystopian state of affairs. The Centre is rubbing salt on the wounds of those who lost their kin to the lack of oxygen.”
No one dying for lack of oxygen is a lie: Delhi deputy CM Manish Sisodia