Was Covid-19 aid effectively allocated? Centre says yes, provides detailed list
The Union ministry of health and family welfare on Thursday refuted certain 'global media reports' which have raised concerns over the distribution of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) relief arriving in India from overseas. "...the aid is being effectively and promptly allocated and dispatched to states and union territories by the Government of India," the health ministry said, responding to the concerns that have been raised by a section of the global media.
"It has been reported in some sections of the media that oxygen concentrations are pending at the Customs warehouse for getting clearance from the Customs authorities. The news is totally incorrect, not based on facts and without any basis," read a government release.
As flights continued to arrive in India carrying medical supplies and technical equipment for combating the more infectious second wave of the coronavirus, certain media reports contended that the Covid-19 supplies had not made their way yet to the hospitals in national capital Delhi and elsewhere, that are in dire need of the life-saving tranches. Global media reports, too, highlighted that the exact status of oxygen concentrators, cylinders, and medicines that arrive as foreign aid in India remains unclear, even as the already overburdened healthcare system in the country continues to crumble under the devastating surge of cases.
Refuting such reports, the central government had provided a list detailing the "effective allocation" of Covid-19 supplies received from the global community.
Thursday's press note read, "Government of India has been receiving international donations/aid of Covid-19 relief medical supplies and equipment since 27 April 2021 from different countries. All items received so far are allocated to the states/institutions and a substantial part of it stands delivered. This is an ongoing exercise. The aim is to extend all support and assistance through various means and measures to strengthen the States’ and UT’s efforts during this critical phase," the government said.
On the question of oxygen cylinders, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) clarified that there is no such pendency with Indian Customs.
"In all, 3,000 oxygen concentrators have been received from various countries as global aid to support efforts of Government of India and the states and UTs in their collective fight against the global pandemic. Of these Mauritius has sent 200 oxygen concentrators, Russia (20), the UK has sent in four consignments (95+120+280+174), 80 from Romania, 700 from Ireland, Thailand (30), China (1000), and Uzbekistan (151). In addition, Taiwan has sent 150. The oxygen concentrators are either delivered to the identified tertiary care institutions or been dispatched for delivery. The relief material has been dispatched through road and air too. There are no oxygen contractors lying in the warehouse of the Customs Department," the Centre clarified.
The government said that the matter regarding the effective allocation of Covid-19 supplies received from abroad also came up recently during a hearing at the Delhi high court and it was clarified before the bench that no such consignment is pending with the Customs authorities.