Kejriwal govt responsible for recent medical oxygen shortage in Delhi: BJP

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New Delhi, May 19 (PTI) Delhi BJP leaders, including party MPs, on Wednesday alleged that the Kejriwal government was responsible for the recent medical oxygen shortage crisis in the city and accused it of 'criminal negligence' during the pandemic.

No reaction was immediately available from the Delhi government or the ruling AAP on charges of the BJP leaders.

The oxygen shortage crisis happened because of 'mismanagement' of the Kejriwal government machinery, which is nothing but a 'criminal negligence', alleged the Delhi BJP leaders in a press conference here.

In the ongoing second wave of COVID-19 in Delhi, an acute shortage of medical oxygen was witnessed in the recent past with hospitals and city government scrambling for supplies. Several deaths due to lack of oxygen at two city hospitals were reported in April and May.

Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta said the Delhi government kept on demanding 976 metric tonnes of oxygen from the Centre while bigger states like Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh with more cases were utilising 250-300 MT of it.

'The moment Supreme Court set up a panel for oxygen audit, Kejriwal government's 976 MT demand came down to 582 MT as he was afraid of being exposed,' Gupta said.

The top court on a plea of the Centre had set up a panel for audit of oxygen supply, its distribution and utilisation in Delhi despite opposition by the AAP government earlier this month.

Gupta charged that the oxygen distribution policy of the city government was 'faulty' right from the beginning which led to patients losing their lives.

BJP MP from northeast Delhi Manoj Tiwari claimed that the per capita oxygen consumption was 'highest' in the entire country.

'Who is responsible for the mismanagement of oxygen supply in Delhi? Why did the Kejriwal government return more than 100 metric tonnes of oxygen to the companies on May 9-10,' Tiwari questioned.

West Delhi BJP MP Parvesh Sahib Singh Verma said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said that 44 medical oxygen plants will be installed in one month and cryogenic tankers will be imported from Thailand.

'Kejriwal should explain what happened to his announcements of installing 44 oxygen plants, importing 18 cryogenic tankers from Bangkok and 21 oxygen plants from France,' Verma said.

Leader of Opposition in Delhi Assembly Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said the Centre wrote letters to the Kejriwal government on April 4, 2020, and September 25, 2020, seeking information on the requirements related to oxygen supply.

'Kejriwal government didn't give any answer as the AAP was busy supporting farmers agitation in view of Punjab Assembly elections,' he said.

Tiwari said Kejriwal claimed as late as April 19 that there was no lack of oxygen for COVID-19 patients but when the situation deteriorated, his government started demanding more oxygen even though it lacked logistics to handle it. PTI VIT AQS AQS

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