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Oxygen deaths: Data missing because Centre stopped us, says Dy CM Sisodia

Oxygen deaths: Data missing because Centre stopped us, says Dy CM Sisodia
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New Delhi: Reacting to the Union government's Parliament response that states and UTs had failed to specifically report deaths due to oxygen shortage, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said that the city had failed to compile this data because the Centre had prevented the Delhi government from doing so through the L-G's office.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday said the city government did not have data on deaths due to lack of oxygen during the second wave of COVID-19 as the Centre has not given nod to its panel meant to probe such fatalities.

His reaction came as a blame game erupted between the BJP and the opposition parties after the Centre on Tuesday informed Rajya Sabha that no deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs during the second COVID-19 wave.

Addressing a press conference, Sisodia also charged the Centre with trying to "hide its fault" and alleged that its "mismanagement" and change in oxygen distribution policy after April 13 caused the shortage of oxygen in the hospitals across the country, leading to a "disaster".

"We all saw what happened in April-May. Media has reported on it, and I was getting messages from officials at hospitals and people were requesting for help, complaining about lack of oxygen," he said.

"But, now the central government has shamelessly lied in Parliament. There was utter chaos due to oxygen shortage from April 15 till May 5, and people would have died due to oxygen shortage," he alleged.

Sisodia alleged that the Centre is trying to hide its mistakes. "It changed its oxygen distribution policy after April 13 which led to a total disaster. The Centre will have to take responsibility for this, the AAP leader told reporters.

Sisodia said if the Centre gives its nod to the inquiry committee set up by the Delhi government, then all deaths reportedly caused due to shortage of oxygen during the second wave of COVID-19 in the city will be independently probed.

The central government is repeatedly lying by saying that states have not given them any figures. But, when you will not allow the states to investigate the deaths due to lack of oxygen, where will the figures come from," he asked.

He challenged the central government, saying if they want the reported deaths due to lack of oxygen to be investigated, then the inquiry committee constituted by the Delhi government should be allowed to do its work.

The "imprudent" policy of the central government has put the whole country in a difficult situation, and even during this crisis, it "did not stop doing dirty politics, and kept troubling the states where there is no BJP-led government," Sisodia alleged.

Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain also came in Sisodi'a support on Wednesday, saying deaths due to oxygen shortage was a reality that was seen in many areas, including Delhi and that it was "completely false" to say no one died for want of the life-saving gas.

"If no deaths occurred due to oxygen shortage, why did hospitals move high court one after another every day? Hospitals had been saying that oxygen shortage led to deaths. The media, too, flagged this issue daily," Jain told reporters here.

"There have been many deaths due to oxygen shortage in Delhi and many other places across the country. It was really sad and unfortunate," Jain said. "The Centre is rubbing salts into the wounds of those who have lost their loved ones Tomorrow, they will say there have been no deaths due to COVID-19," he added.

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