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'Centre lied about oxygen crisis': AAP, BJP cross swords

Sisodia alleged the Centre is trying to hide its fault on O2 management

delhi oxygen pti (File) Family members of COVID-19 patients wait outside an oxygen-filling centre to refill their empty cylinders, in Delhi | PTI

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Wednesday hit out at the Narendra Modi government for informing Parliament that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were reported during the second wave of COVID-19.

Speaking at the press conference, Sisodia claimed, "When Delhi government said they want to establish a panel to probe deaths due to oxygen crisis, the Centre backed out," NDTV reported. Sisodia declared, "Centre has lied that there was no oxygen crisis in country during second wave of COVID-19. Centre is trying to hide its fault on oxygen management during second COVID wave; its policy led to disaster.”

"If there was no shortage of oxygen, why did hospitals move court? Hospitals and the media had been flagging oxygen shortage issues daily. Television channels showed that how hospitals were running out of the lifesaving gas. It is completely false to say that no one died due to oxygen shortage. There have been many deaths due to oxygen shortage in Delhi and many other places across the country,"Jain told mediapersons.

Jain claimed the Arvind Kejriwal government "constituted an oxygen audit committee to assess deaths due to lack of oxygen and provide compensation, but Modi government, through lieutenant governor, dismissed it to hide the truth."

Speaking to mediapersons, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra reiterated the government's line that it was the states that provided information on deaths to the Centre.

Patra was quoted by ANI as saying, "There are three things one must pay attention to in the reply given by the government. Centre says that Health is a state/UT subject. It says that it just collects the data sent by states/UTs; it doesn't generate data." Patra declared none of the states said "that a death occurred in their state/UT due to shortage of oxygen; there is no data for that".

The Central government on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs during the second COVID-19 wave. But there was an unprecedented surge in demand for medical oxygen during the second wave and it peaked at nearly 9,000MT, compared with 3,095MT in the first wave, following which the Centre had to step in to facilitate equitable distribution among the states, it said.

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