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Officers in UP not answering calls on COVID-19 issues, Union minister tells Yogi

Gangwar drew attention to unavailability of resources, black marketing and hoarding

Santosh Kumar Gangwar | PTI Santosh Kumar Gangwar | PTI

A Union minister has written to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to say that in his own experience important officers tasked with medical health responsibilities did not answer their phones, causing problems to COVID-19 patients.

A letter written by Santosh Kumar Gangwar, minister of state (independent charge) labour and employment, to Yogi Adityanath on May 6 draws attention to seven points of reference for complaints and suggestions. The letter is with regard to Bareilly, Gangwar’s birthplace and his Lok Sabha constituency.

In the letter, Gangwar draws attention to unavailability of resources, their black marketing and hoarding, besides administrative hurdles.

“It has come to attention that Bareilly is facing a huge shortage of empty oxygen cylinders. People have kept them in their home as precaution. Please identify such people who are hoarding oxygen cylinders unnecessarily and not letting help reach the needy. People are selling cylinders at arbitrary prices,” says the letter.

He also points to the need for early hospital admissions for COVID-19 patients. “When a patient goes to a L3 hospital, he is told to get a referral from the district hospital. The patient keeps going from here to there while his oxygen levels fall. This is a matter of concern.”

Admissions to government hospitals in the state are through an Integrated Command and Control Centre, which allocates hospital beds as per availability to patients. A now-withdrawn level of complication to the process was requirement of a letter from the district’s chief medical officer for hospital admission. On April 30, the government had announced that no referral letter of any kind would be required for any hospital in the state, private or government owned.

Gangwar goes on to refer to the non-availability of officers on the phone, noting that this is causing “great inconvenience” to patients.

He also points to the need for the vaccines to be made available to those facilities for which registrations are open.

The minister has also pointed out that devices such as ventilators and monitors, which are required for COVID-19 treatment, are being sold “one-and-half times the rate” and this needs to be stopped.

Gangwar has also suggested that all private hospitals be converted into COVID-19 care facilities and that necessary facilities be provided to them.

He also asked for 50 per cent concession for such MSMEs in Bareilly that want to set up oxygen plants.

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