Mumbai: Cabinet Ministers complain about unequal distribution of medicines and oxygen

A heated debate took place at the state cabinet, chaired by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, on the unequal distribution of medicines, including Remdesivir and Tocilizumab, and the supply of oxygen in districts. Several ministers, including Chhagan Bhujbal, Nawab Malik and Yashomati Thakur, targeted Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope for the lack of adequate supply, while some districts, including his home district Jalna, have managed to get excess supply. Ministers sought the CM’s intervention and pleaded the distribution process should be streamlined and the government should regularly disclose what it has received from the central government and how it has been distributed in 36 districts.

Ministers at the outset expressed serious displeasure over the inadequate supply of Remdesivir and oxygen in particular to the state despite repeated reminders. “Against such backdrop, if some districts have to pursue getting their due share, then it is unfortunate. This needs a correction at the earliest and, therefore, we sought the CM’s intervention to streamline the distribution process,” said a senior minister.

He further stated that some districts in Vidarbha and Marathwada have had to struggle to get Remdesivir vials and vaccine doses, as it was noticed that it was diverted to other districts. “This is also the same case when it comes to oxygen supply. Even though the state government has launched the setting up of oxygen plants in district general hospitals, till that period, the supply should be made based on the number of patients and severity of the spread of the virus,” he noted.

The Health Department has informed that the central government has not yet met the government's demand of supplying 70,000 Remdesivir vials a day. However, the situation may improve, as 13 companies have responded to the global tenders and, at least, 1 lakh Remdesivir vials may be available in the next 10 days. The department also said the government has sought additional 200 MT of oxygen supply from the central government in the wake of a possible third wave.

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