Maharashtra Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Monday slammed the Centre for halting the supply of masks, ventilators and personal protective equipment kits to the state at a time when the Covid-19 cases are on the rise. The state’s progressive cases have crossed 10 lakh, active patients well above 2.90lakh while deaths 29,000.
Tope said the Centre has provided assistance till last month but now has taken a decision to stop supply of masks, ventilators and PPE kits which are required to treat the rising number of Covid 19 patients across the state. ‘’I have requested Union Minister Prakash Javadekar not to stop the aid and urged him that the Centre needs to reconsider its decision,’’ he added.
Tope said no one had thought that the number of Covid-19 patients will grow not just in the state but in the country. ‘’The state government is carrying out testing and tracing as per the guidelines issued by the ICMR. There has been a total transparency and the Covid containment measures are being implemented by taking the people into confidence,’’ he noted.
Tope admitted that there has been spurt in virus infection and the situation is serious. He said the state is trying its best to combat the virus.
On complaints with regard to lack of availability of ventilators, beds and Oxygen, the minister said there is no shortage of ventilators in districts. As far as Oxygen supply is concerned, the state produced 900 metric tonnes of which 400 metric tonnes is currently required by the hospitals. ‘’The state government has decided to reserve 80% Oxygen supply to the hospitals and 20% for the industries. To streamline the supply Oxygen tankers have been lined up,’’ he added.
Tope said the state government has recently approved the purchase of new 500 ambulances which will be put into services at the earliest. ‘’At the district level, the state government has asked the district collector to acquire the private ambulances while the legislators have provided the ambulances from their own funds. It is a fact that some could not get the ambulances due to lack of management,’’ he viewed.
Tope made it clear that the department has no powers but they were vested in the Divisional Commissioners and the District Collectors. The state government has empowered the District Collectors to spend on the improvement in the health infrastructure and services. ‘’The state government is spending heavily on combating corona and many states have emulated slew of initiatives taken by Maharashtra,’’ he noted.