Sisodia Says No Data Sought on Deaths Due to Oxygen Crisis, Health Min Refutes

Without an inquiry, it is difficult to say whether any deaths happened due to the oxygen crisis, Sisodia said.

3 min read
<div class="paragraphs"><p>Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia during a press conference.</p></div>

After Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Tuesday, 10 August, alleged that the Central government did not ask for data on the deaths that occurred due to oxygen shortage during the second wave, Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya responded on Twitter, attaching a copy of an email sent to the Delhi government for the same.

"Respected Sisodia ji, here is the copy of the mail sent by my ministry to the Delhi government on 26 July. It's not too late yet! By August 13 you can send the data so that we can answer the question in the Parliament. After reviewing with your officers, please send the necessary data as soon as possible," Mandaviya wrote in Hindi.

Earlier in the day, Sisodia had emphasised on the need to be prepared for the third wave and said that the Delhi government will share all the details with the central government.

In an online press conference, Sisodia had said, "The central government has not yet asked Delhi whether there have been deaths due to lack of oxygen in Delhi or not, but in Delhi we have decided that the Delhi government will send the complete information about the deaths due to lack of oxygen in the form of a report, to the Central government…You can put out that reply in front of the Supreme Court and the public and in Parliament," he said in an online briefing.”

On Tuesday, 20 July, the government had informed Rajya Sabha that "no death due to lack of oxygen was specifically reported by states and Union Territories during the second COVID-19 wave".

The Centre had, however asked for information in question later on 26 July, as was disclosed in the email publicised on Wednesday.
Doubting centre's earlier claims, Sisodia alleged that the Centre was not showing seriousness towards the oxygen shortage, which evidently was a crisis during the second wave.

He said, "The country was struggling with the oxygen crisis during the second wave of COVID. People in hospitals were dying due to lack of oxygen. The Supreme Court seriously questioned the central government on this, but the central government continues to remain insensitive,” news agency PTI reported.

Citing media reports, Sisodia had said the Centre has asked state governments to inform on the number of deaths occurring due to the oxygen crisis. The media report further claims that out of the 13 states that have responded, 12 have claimed that no deaths occurred in their state, while only one state has submitted the number of deaths.

He had further said, "A few days ago, I had read that the central government has given time until 13 August to state governments to inform them regarding the number of deaths due to oxygen scarcity. But till now no information or letter has been sent to the Delhi government.”

Attacking the Union government for its claim on zero oxygen deaths being reported, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain had said, "They will soon say there was no COVID-19. If there were no deaths due to lack of oxygen, why were hospitals going to high courts for shortages? This is completely false."

Jain had explained, "We had formed an audit committee for oxygen to provide compensation to victims, which was stopped by the Centre through LG Anil Baijal."

Claiming the same, Sisodia said, "The Delhi government had constituted an inquiry committee long back to audit the deaths due to lack of oxygen in Delhi, but it was rejected by the Lieutenant Governor at the behest of the central government.”

Sisodia had concluded by saying that the Delhi government believes that there was an oxygen crisis and without an inquiry it is difficult to say whether any deaths happened due to it or not. He asserted that if the third wave comes, the oxygen crisis may arise again.

(With inputs from PTI)

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