Oxygen for politicians’ lies

Contrary to a mountain of evidence that proves the shortage of oxygen cost a lot of deaths during the second wave of Covid-19, politicians of all parties believe otherwise

Rajesh Dikshit |

Medical oxygen

Photo courtesy: Pixabay

Politicians of all parties seem to be competing with each other on their respective capabilities of lying. So, soon after the Union government claimed that no deaths due to lack of medical oxygen were reported by states and Union Territories during the second wave of Covid-19, several state governments, including the ones ruled by the Opposition, supported this claim.

To a query in Parliament about the number of Covid-19 deaths on roads and hospitals in the second wave because of the shortage of oxygen, Minister of State for Health Bharati Pravin Pawar said, “No deaths due to lack of oxygen were specifically reported by states and UTs.” Health being a state subject, states and UTs are responsible for data collection on Covid-19, he pointed out.

Other politicians were quick to see merit in this subterfuge. So, Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said, “No Covid-19 patient died due to shortage of oxygen in our state. Nearly 8.5 lakh Covid-19 patients have been treated in Gujarat so far. We have several dedicated Covid-19 hospitals because of which lakhs of people have recovered and been discharged. No patient died due to lack of oxygen at any hospital in the state.”

Opposition-ruled Maharashtra also came up with a similar statement. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “Not a single patient in the state died due to oxygen shortage. We had given an affidavit stating this in the courts. We utilized all oxygen that was being produced in the state and effectively used it and managed the supply.”

Bihar Health Minister Mangal Pandey too said something similar: “A total of 9,632 people have died of Covid-19 in Bihar so far but none of them died due to shortage of medical oxygen.”

Tamil Nadhu Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan and Madhya Pradesh Health Minister Prabhuram Choudhary said the same thing: there were no deaths because of shortage of medical oxygen.

Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant and Chhattisgarh Health Minister TS Singh Deo too.

Only the Delhi state government struck a discordant note, saying that people did die because of the lack of oxygen. Otherwise, if the political class is to be believed, all is well.

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