Centre seeks data from states, UTs on deaths due to oxygen shortage during second Covid-19 wave
The Union government, which triggered severe outrage when it said in the Rajya Sabha that no death took place due to shortage of oxygen during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, has written to states and Union territories (UTs) seeking data on deaths due to oxygen shortage, news agency ANI reported on Tuesday quoting officials.
The data, it said, will be shared in Parliament before the ongoing monsoon session ends on August 13.
“The Centre has written to states for data on deaths related to oxygen shortage. The data is likely to be presented in Parliament before the monsoon session ends on August 13,” officials said.
Responding to a question by Congress MP KC Venugopal on July 20, minister of state (health) Dr Bharti Pravin Pawar said, “Since health is a state subject, all states and UTs reports cases and deaths to the Union health ministry on a regular basis. However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs.” Pawar’s response, which came on day 2 of the monsoon session, triggered much furor among the Opposition ranks.
However, at least eight states, including those governed by Opposition parties, too, said that no death took place due to lack of oxygen.
During the second Covid-19 wave, which was at its peak in April and May, several hospitals from across the country reported an acute shortage of medical oxygen. In many cases, hospitals were forced to approach courts seeking directions to authorities to facilitate its supply. The ministry of railways ran special Oxygen Express trains to deliver oxygen to states.