After Uddhav Thackeray's SOS call to PM Modi, Harsh Vardhan assures support
Shortly after Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray made an SOS call to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday facing a shortage of oxygen and Remdesivir, a drug for Covid-19 treatment, but was told that the PM is in Bengal, Union health minister Harsh Vardhan reached out to the state head and assured him of adequate and uninterrupted supply in resources.
The request from Thackeray comes amid Maharashtra's uphill battle against coronavirus disease which has infected 3.7 million and killed 63,729 since the start of the pandemic.
"Spoke to #Maharashtra CM Sh Uddhav Thackeray Ji. Reassured @OfficeofUT of adequate & uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen & all possible support w.r.t healthcare infra, medicines & therapeutics. Additional 1,121 ventilators are also being rushed to them given the surge in cases," the health minister said.
State’s minority affairs minister Nawab Malik who accused PM Modi of being busy in elections while “people are dying” on Saturday said, "Chief minister (Uddhav Thackeray) is trying to contact PM Modi on phone over shortage of oxygen and Remdesivir and he was informed that the Prime Minister is on Bengal tour."
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) refuted Malik’s charge and said PM Modi himself reviewed the state of oxygen supply on Friday amid surging Covid-19 cases and that the government is in constant touch with the state governments.
Opposition has trained its guns at Centre and the PM as the coronavirus cases surge at an unprecedented scale in the country. The Congress on Saturday accused PM Modi of "shocking callousness" for addressing rallies in poll-bound West Bengal "instead of staying in Delhi" to handle the Covid pandemic situation.
Congress' senior spokesperson P Chidambaram said the prime minister should be at his job, sitting at his desk and coordinating with chief ministers in handling the pandemic.
At least 11 states and union territories on Saturday have raised the requests for increasing supply of oxygen cylinders and Remdesivir in hospitals, adding ventilator stocks and enhanced supply of vaccine doses as the country's health infrastructure shows clear signs of collapse. The request was raised in a high-level meeting by Union health minister.
The states, including Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Delhi, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh, have been reporting an unprecedented surge in new virus cases.
As many as 63,729 new Covid-19 cases and 398 deaths were reported in Maharashtra in the last 24 hours, taking the total active cases in the state to 6,38,034, the state health department informed on Friday.
With this, the total positive cases in the state now stand at 37,03,584, including 30,04,391 recoveries and 59,551 deaths.