The Central government increased oxygen exports by 700 per cent during the pandemic year, said Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi on Wednesday, hitting out at the Centre after it said that no COVID-19 deaths had been reported due to a lack of oxygen.Taking to Twitter the Congress leader said COVID-related deaths took place because the government did not make arrangements for tankers to provide oxygen.
“‘No death due to lack of oxygen’: Central Government. The deaths happened because – In the pandemic year, the government increased oxygen exports by 700 per cent. The government did not make arrangements for tankers transporting oxygen,” Gandhi tweeted in Hindi.She added, “Ignoring the advice of the Empowered Group and the Parliamentary Committee, no arrangement was made to provide oxygen. No activity was seen in setting up oxygen plants in hospitals.”
This comes a day after the Centre, while responding to a question by Congress MP KC Venugopal during the Parliament monsoon session on whether a large number of COVID-19 patients died on roads and hospitals due to acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave, said that no deaths due to lack of oxygen had been specifically reported by states/Union Territories during the second wave of COVID-19.
In the written reply, Minister of State for Health Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar stated that health is a state subject and accordingly all states/UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis.The government’s reply comes in the aftermath of the devastating second COVID-19 wave that overwhelmed the country’s healthcare infrastructure and resulted in thousands of deaths daily. COVID-19 cases surged dangerously from April to June, and peaked in May with over 4-lakh cases in 24 hours.An all-time high of deaths too was reported during the same period. Hospitals across the country reported severe oxygen shortages for several days and private hospitals in the national capital approached the High Court.