Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut on Wednesday lashed out at the Union government for claiming that there were no deaths due to oxygen shortage during second COVID-19 wave. He said that a case should be filed against the government.
"I am speechless. What would have happened to the families of those who lost their loved ones to an oxygen shortage after hearing this statement? A case should be filed against the government. They are lying," Sanjay Raut was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
While speaking about controversy related to the 'Pegasus Project', Sanjay Raut said the Opposition has asked for Joint Parliamentary Committee and Supreme Court's intervention.
"The opposition has asked for Joint Parliamentary Committee and Supreme Court's intervention. If Ravi Shankar Prasad was in opposition, he would've demanded the same. Let the truth come out. If there is nothing, why are you scared?," said Sanjay Raut.
His remarks come after the government informed Rajya Sabha on Tuesday that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs during the second wave.
But there was an unprecedented surge in demand for medical oxygen during the second wave and it peaked at nearly 9000 MT compared to 3095 MT in the first wave following which the Centre had to step in to facilitate equitable distribution among the states, it said.
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, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin 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.
The Government of India has supported the states and undertook a series of actions including provisioning medical oxygen, and other consumables to ensure clinical care of COVID-19 patients in view of the steep rise of COVID-19 trajectory in the country during April- May 2021.
On the total demand of oxygen by the states and total oxygen supplied, the ministry said the supply of medical oxygen to hospitals is determined by contractual arrangements between the hospital and the medical oxygen supplier concerned.
"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 central government had to step in to facilitate equitable distribution to the states.
"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," the written reply stated.
(With inputs from PTI)