COVID-19 in Maharashtra: Row erupts as CM Uddhav Thackeray dials PM Modi for Remdesivir, medical oxygen

In the wake of burgeoning shortage of medical oxygen and Remdesivir vials in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Friday called PM Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to solve the crisis. However, the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) said that Thackeray could not speak to Modi as he was on a campaign tour to the poll-bound West Bengal.

The CMO further stated that the PMO has informed that Modi would get in touch with the CM. However, there is no phone call yet from the PMO.

Thackeray wanted an urgent help from the Centre to streamline the oxygen and Remdesivir supplies amid rising demand due to spurt in Covid-19 cases. Minister of Minority Affair and NCP chief spokesman Nawab Malik took a swipe at Modi for not sparing time to manage the pandemic but devoting much of his time for election campaigning.

Malik said," The chief minister is trying to contact PM Modi on phone over shortage of oxygen and Remdesivir. But he was informed that the PM is on Bengal tour." He claimed that the PM was busy in elections when people were dying during the Covid-19 second wave.

Thackeray tried to seek PM’s intervention days after he in his letter to Modi had urged to rope in the National Disaster Management Authority for air lifting the oxygen to meet increasing demand. He had cited that the state was struggling to procure 1,400 metric tonne of oxygen from producers within and outside the state. The CM had hinted that the oxygen demand will surge at 2,000 MT if the Covid cases continue to rise at the present pace.

Thackeray had also called upon Modi to increase Remdesivir vial supply in the wake of rising demand.

However, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said Maharashtra has so far received the highest quantity of oxygen in India. Centre is in daily touch with state governments to assess their needs and help them in the best possible manner.

He tweeted, "Saddened to see @OfficeOfUT’s gimmicks on oxygen. GoI, with all stakeholders, is ensuring maximum oxygen production in India. We are currently producing 110% of Oxygen generating capacity and diverting all available Oxygen from industrial use to medical use." He further added, ‘’ Maharashtra is suffering from an inept & corrupt government & the Centre is doing its best for the people. People of Maharashtra are following ‘Majha Kutumb, Majhi Javabadari’ dutifully. It is time the CM also follows his duties in the spirit of ‘Majha Rajya, Majhi Javabadari’."

Goyal reminded Thackeray, “Just yesterday, PM in his review told that centre & states should work with synergy in this crisis. With this background, shocked and saddened to see petty politics being played by @OfficeOfUT. He needs to stop his daily dose of shameless politics and take responsibility."

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