(Eds: Adding quotes) Pune, Apr 10 (PTI) Maharashtra is currently left with 15.63 lakh of the 1.10 crore anti-COVID 19 vaccine doses it had received, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said Saturday and called for their 'proper distribution' amid reports of an acute shortage of vaccines which the state government had blamed on the Centre.
Earlier in the day, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had said that 8 lakh doses were available and 'we have been told we will get four lakh doses in a day'.
Javadekar also said over 1,100 ventilators will be made available for Maharashtra, which is worst-affected by COVID-19 pandemic, in the next three days.
He said that oxygen supply has also been routed from the industrial production units.
In a dig at the Maharashtra government, which had accused the Centre of bias in the distribution of doses to the state, Javadekar said this is not the right time to play politics over the issue, and that an 'appropriate answer' will be given later.
'As per the statewide report, Maharashtra received 1.10 crore doses till 6 pm on Friday. There are only three states that have received over 1 crore vaccine doses in the country. They are Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajashtan,' Javadekar told reporters after attending a review meeting with Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar here.
Giving a break-up, Javadekar said out of the 1.10 crore doses, 95 lakh doses were used by Maharashtra till April 9.
'There are 15.63 lakh vaccine doses remaining with the state. This report is known to everyone. I have spoken to Maharashtra chief secretary Sitaram Kunte,' he added.
Javadekar said these 15 lakh-plus doses need to be distributed properly so that 'no vaccine' boards will not be seen anywhere at inoculation centres in the state.
'I hope this (proper distribution of vaccine doses) will be followed,' he said.
The state government had feared that the healthcare system will be overwhelmed if the cases continue to rise.
'Today we have 8 lakh doses available and we have been told we will get four lakh doses in a day. If the supply of doses is on a daily basis, how will the vaccines be transported to other parts of the state on time?' Tope had asked.
He said that 70 vaccine centres in Mumbai have closed and places like Sangli, Satara, Panvel are also facing a shortage, due to which all the centres there have been affected.
'People visiting the centres are being turned away.
All this is very embarrassing,' Tope had said and reiterated that the state's vaccine wastage percentage is just three per cent.
'The Centre is not addressing these issues seriously,' Tope alleged.
When asked about the blame game between the Centre and the state government over the availability of vaccine doses, Javadekar said this is not the right time to do politics.
'When we will have to do politics, we will give a proper answer to that allegations. There is nothing greater than the interest of the people in the current situation,' the BJP leader said.
Tope had also alleged that many states, which are smaller than Maharashtra in terms of population and the number of patients, have received more doses of vaccine.
A shortage of ventilator beds is being reported from various parts in Maharashtra, which has 5,34,603 active cases at present.
Acknowledging the shortage of ventilators in Maharashtra, the Information and Broadcasting minister said, 'I held a detailed discussion with concerned officials and ministers. 1,121 ventilators will be made available for Maharashtra in the next three to four days. 700 ventilators would be coming from Gujarat and 421 from Andhra Pradesh'.
Javadekar also said that oxygen supply has also been routed from the industrial production units and the Centre would help the state to get this oxygen supply.
He said the Centre would provide funds for the manpower required for testing, tracking, tracing and treating patients from the National Health Mission.
'We consider this (pandemic) as a national calamity.
All the states and people belong to us, so attention and solutions will be provided to those areas where the situation is critical,' he said.
Javadekar said more than 30 teams were sent to Maharashtra for reviewing the pandemic situation in various districts and they are considering measures to tackle the prevailing situation.
'In Pune also, a team under IAS officer Kunal Kumar has arrived and held a meeting with officials,' he added.
Maharashtra's cumulative caseload reached 32,88,540 on Friday, while the death toll stood at 57,329, as per the state health department.
The state has been recording more than 55,000 cases over the past few days.
In a bid to tackle the spike in cases, the state government had imposed various restrictions, including the night curfew which will remain in force till April 30, besides weekend lockdowns from Friday night to Monday morning every week. PTI SPK NSK NSK