After the Centre on Tuesday in the Rajya Sabha claimed that "no deaths have been reported by States and Union Territories due to lack of oxygen", the Congress has accused Minister of State for Health Bharati Pawar of "misleading" the House. Congress leader KC Venugopal added that the party will move a Privilege Motion against the minister.
"Govt has given a reply today that nobody in the country died due to a shortage of oxygen. In every state we saw how many patients died due to lack of oxygen. We know. The Minister misled the House. We will move a Privilege Motion against that Minister," Venugopal said in a press conference.
"This is the way in which the Govt of India is doing COVID control. This is a clear answer because the PM is giving a presentation today, I don't know if these types of answers will be given in that presentation. This is totally condemnable," he added.
Responding to a question on whether a large number of COVID-19 patients died on roads and hospitals due to acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave, Bharati Pawar noted that health is a state subject and states and UTs regularly report the number of cases and deaths to the Centre.
"Detailed guidelines for reporting of deaths have been issued by the Union Health Ministry to all states and UTs. Accordingly, all states and UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis. However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs," Pawar said in a written reply.
"However, due to unprecedented surge in demand of medical oxygen during the second wave - the demand in the country peaked to nearly 9000 MT as compared to 3095 MT during the first wave," the reply stated.
"A dynamic and transparent framework for allocation of medical oxygen in consultation with states and UTs and all the stakeholders such as relevant ministries, manufacturers/suppliers of liquid oxygen, etc. was prepared," it added.