MP COVID-19 crisis administration's criminal negligence: Nath

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(Eds: Adding quotes) Bhopal, Apr 29 (PTI) Former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Kamal Nath on Thursday accused the BJP government in the state of failing to manage the COVID-19 crisis and termed it as 'criminal negligence' on the part of the administration.

Talking to reporters virtually from here, the senior Congress leader also alleged under-reporting of COVID-19 deaths in MP, a charge the state government has denied.

The former Union minister claimed that hospitals in the state have no beds, injections, oxygen, medicines and ambulances.

People were being misled, he said, adding that the pandemic won't disappear by managing 'media and headlines'.

'I want to know from Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan about a single hospital where all these facilities are available. It is total criminal negligence,' Nath said.

The state government should have taken note of the second wave of COVID-19 in advance, but it failed to gauge the situation, he said.

He also claimed that the actual number of COVID-19 deaths in the state was being hidden and that the figures were much higher than the official statistics.

MP Home Minister Narottam Mishra had on Tuesday denied that there was underreporting of COVID-19 deaths in the state.

Nath said that during his interaction with Congress district presidents, he was told that coronavirus had entered villages and no testing facilities were available there.

'Tests are not being conducted and even if they are done, then reports are not being declared even in three days.

By that time, there is a chance of such people spreading the infection among others,' he said.

Nath also alleged that Remdesivir injections (key anti-viral drug) were being given by BJP leaders 'to their own people', instead of members of the general public suffering from COVID-19.

Replying to a question, he said that there was no coronavirus management in the state. 'Entire management of the state has collapsed,' Nath said.

'Only the management of headline and media is on.

People are being misled...But COVID won't go by media and headlines management,' Nath said.

He accused the ruling BJP of doing politics over Remdesivir.

'The BJP workers were blackmarketing it. A patient told me he got two injections for Rs 40,000 each,' he claimed.

According to the senior Congress leader, the state government started making arrangements for Remedesivir and oxygen just 11 days ago.

He said that the chief minister held talks to him over the crisis five to six days ago.

'I had talked to Cadila and Sun Pharma to facilitate drugs supply to MP,' he added.

'I request CM Chouhan to visit each district of Madhya Pradesh by helicopter and talk to local people for 30 minutes at each place to know the ground picture,' he said.

Even vaccines are not available in the state and people are facing lot of problems in getting the jabs despite the state government making 'tall claims' about it, he said.

Government officials should be sent to oxygen plants and drug manufacturers to get these essential medical supplies for the people, but 'principal secretaries were sitting in Bhopal and doing nothing', he said.

'The mismanagement has been criticised in the international media across the world...the government should focus on managing the crisis instead of managing headlines in the media,' Nath said.

On Wednesday, Madhya Pradesh reported 12,758 fresh cases of coronavirus, taking the infection count to 5,38,165, while 105 deaths pushed the state's fatality count to 5,424, as per official data. PTI MAS LAL GK NP NP