Congress accuses MP govt of `hiding' real death toll of pandemic in state

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Bhopal, May 4 (PTI) The Congress on Tuesday accused the Madhya Pradesh government of under-reporting COVID-19 cases and deaths, claiming that over one lakh people have died due to the viral infection in the state so far against the official figure of 5,905.

The ruling BJP dismissed the claim, saying the Congress was only making allegations instead of helping people.

'About one to 1.5 lakh people have died due to the pandemic in Madhya Pradesh and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been misleading people,' State Congress working president Jitu Patwari alleged, talking to reporters here.

Around 5,000 people have died in the state capital Bhopal alone since the outbreak of the pandemic and of these over 2,500 bodies were cremated as per the COVID-19 protocol, the opposition leader claimed.

The same is true of other cities including Indore, Jabalpur and Gwalior; and about 3,000 persons have died in each of 52 districts during the pandemic, Patwari claimed. But the government records show only 100 to 200 deaths per district, he said.

The government is also not carrying out testing properly to hide the real number of COVID-19 patients, the Congress leader alleged.

The situation was grim on the medical facilities front too, he claimed.

'Madhya Pradesh Congress will give a reward of Rs 11 lakh to the chief minister if he shows us a hospital where all facilities to fight COVID are available. He could not build even a good hospital during his 17-year tenure as CM,' Patwari said.

He also demanded that power bills and school fees be waived, and financial assistance be given to lower and middle-class families.

Alleging rampant black marketing of Remdesivir injections, a drug used to treat coronavirus patients in certain cases, Patwari said BJP MLAs and leaders were distributing the injections. 'The government should also file criminal cases against those who are responsible for deaths due to the shortage of oxygen. A financial assistance of Rs four lakh should be given to (the kin of) those who died due to shortage of oxygen,' he demanded.

Reacting to Patwari's allegations, state BJP secretary Rajneesh Agrawal said, 'The pandemic is spread across states including the Congress-ruled ones. All parties should come forward to save people. The state government and BJP workers are helping people. But where is Congress and what it has been doing? It is only making allegations.' There could be a dispute over the data of deaths, but 'a huge population is to be saved from the infection and Congress should tell what is its role in that,' Agrawal said.

According to the state health department, as of Monday evening Madhya Pradesh's COVID-19 caseload had crossed the six lakh-mark while the death toll was 5,905. PTI ADU KRK KRK