Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut slammed the Centre on Wednesday over its statement that no deaths were reported due to lack of oxygen by states and UTs in the second wave of Covid-19. He said people whose relatives had died due to oxygen shortage during the second wave should “take the Union government to court”. He further claimed that the remark was intended to deflect attention from the Pegasus spyware controversy.
Raut said, “Many people have died because of oxygen shortage in several states. Those whose relatives were Covid patients and who died due to oxygen shortage should take the Union government to court.”
He went on to ask how families which had lost their loved ones to oxygen shortage would have felt, on hearing the government’s statement. “I am speechless.''
“The Union government is running away from the truth. It seems it is the effect of Pegasus spyware.” The opposition has asked for a Joint Parliamentary Committee probe and the Supreme Court’s intervention. “Had Ravi Shankar Prasad been in the opposition, he would’ve demanded the same. Let the truth come out. If there is nothing to hide, why are you scared?” he asked. He further alleged that the government was lying.
Veteran Congress leader and Maharashtra Energy Minister Nitin Raut also lashed out at the Central government and questioned if there had been no death due to oxygen shortage, then why were new oxygen plants commissioned? “If no one died for lack of oxygen then why did the Centre resort to procurement of oxygen concentrators? Why were oxygen plants set up from the PM CARES Fund? Why was the railway minister uploading photos of Oxygen Express on social media?” he asked.
No death due to oxygen shortage in Maharashtra: Tope
Giving the factual position in Maharashtra, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said the state government had not reported any death due to shortage of oxygen during the second wave. However, he admitted that in April this year, 22 patients died after oxygen supply at a Nashik hospital was disrupted due to leak in an oxygen storage plant. He clarified that the deaths were not for lack of oxygen or shortage in its supply.
In a video released on Wednesday evening, Tope said, “We never said people died due to oxygen shortage in the state. Many of them had issues like co-morbidities and other illnesses. No death has taken place due to the shortage of oxygen.”