Get the latest news from Nation Next in your inbox.
The Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Bharati Pravin Pawar, on Tuesday, said that no deaths had occurred in India during the second wave of COVID-19 due to shortage of oxygen.
Pawar claimed the same while responding to a question raised by the Opposition during the Question hour in Rajya Sabha.
In a written reply to the question, she wrote, “Health is a matter of the state and Union territories. They regularly report COVID cases, deaths and positives to the Centre.
However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs.”
As per the Opposition, minister’s response contradicted the reality and received a lot of criticism.
During the peak of second wave in India (April-June), there were several reports, which claimed that the hospitals were not admitting COVID patients due to lack of oxygen.
Reportedly, particularly in the states like Goa, Maharashtra, Delhi and Kerala, lack of oxygen came as a nightmare and hundreds of lives succumbed due to lack of healthcare facilities.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi responded to Centre's comments on Twitter, wrote, "Not only oxygen, but also, there is shortage of truth, empathy and compassion."
“We all know that due to lack of oxygen many hospitals refused to admit patients & many (COVID patients) died. If they say so, then it's the first govt. that neither listens to nor sees. People should teach a lesson to them,” said Mallikarjun Kharge, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha.
Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut demanded a probe against Centre and said, “I am speechless. What would have happened to the families of those who lost their loved ones to oxygen shortage after hearing this statement? A case should be filed against the govt. They are lying.”
Several media houses claimed that during the second wave of COVID, India’s health infrastructure collapsed and thousands died on the Centre’s watch and the Modi government failed to procure lifesaving oxygen on time.
Countries like USA, France, England, UAE, Mexico and many others shipped essential drugs, oxygen and other medical supplies to India as the situation at the peak of second wave had worsened.