BJP, AAP spar over SC audit team report over oxygen need
A political row erupted on Friday after a Supreme Court-appointed audit team submitted its report on the situation of the requirement of oxygen in Delhi with the BJP and the AAP trading charges over the document. Several Union ministers and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders criticised the Arvind Kejriwal-led government in Delhi for inflating the Capital's oxygen requirement and said that it "affected other states".
"Because of Arvind Kejriwal's lies, 12 states were affected due to the oxygen supply as the quantity of oxygen had to be cut off from everywhere and sent to Delhi," BJP leader Sambit Patra said during a press briefing. "It is unbelievable to see that Arvind Kejriwal and the Delhi government politicised oxygen supply when Covid was at its peak. This is such petty politics. The data presented by Oxygen Audit Committee in the report is shocking," Patra also said.
Union minister Prakash Javadekar was among those to slam the Kejriwal government. "Their demand for oxygen was four times more than what was needed and because of that the rest of the states had to bear the loss. One must learn how to make noise from Delhi government," Javadekar's tweet, roughly translated from Hindi, read.
BJP lawmaker from East Delhi Gautam Gambhir also took to social media and asked Kejriwal to hold a press conference and apologise to the nation. "If you have any shame left Arvind Kejriwal, hold one of your PCs now & apologise to the nation for inflating oxygen need BY FOUR TIMES during second wave!" he tweeted.
Union minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, "Hope accountability is fixed for disrupting oxygen supply across India."
On his part, Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the Bharatiya Janata Party was lying about the report. He said that the BJP is sharing a fake report created by them in the headquarters and appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to control the actions of the party. "The Supreme Court constituted oxygen audit committee has not approved any report yet. Then, which is this report that BJP leaders have been quoting? I challenge the BJP to bring this report signed by members of the oxygen audit committee," Manish Sisodia said at a press conference.
The Supreme Court's oxygen audit panel was led by AIIMS director Dr Randeep Guleria and included Delhi government principal home secretary Bhupinder Bhalla, Max Healthcare director Dr Sandeep Buddhiraja and Union Jal Shakti ministry's joint secretary Subodh Yadav. HT has not seen the report.
Several hospitals sent out SOS calls to authorities saying that their oxygen stock was running out during the peak of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. On May 2, 12 people died in Delhi's Batra Hospital after the hospital ran out of oxygen. The Supreme Court, responding to this crisis, directed the Centre to ensure a supply of 700 MT of oxygen to the Capital.