At least 30 people died in Andhra Pradesh during the second COVID-19 wave due to lack of oxygen, claimed Telugu Desam Party (TDP) spokesperson K Pattabhiram, a day after Centre’s comment that no COVID-19 deaths have been reported by the states and UTs due to lack of oxygen. The Central government had on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha that no deaths of COVID-19 patients due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and union territories during the second COVID-19 wave that took place from April to June.
“More than 30 deaths were reported in one single incident in Ruia hospital in Tirupati. COVID patients died due to lack of oxygen in Vizianagaram, Kurnool and many other towns and cities in Andhra Pradesh because of the inefficiency of the Central government to supply oxygen on time to hospitals,” the TDP leader said.
He added, “We have demanded ex gratia of Rs 25 lakhs for the family of each victim. We were shocked and surprised. We demand that the Central government verify the facts again and get their records straight because this has been widely reported in domestic, national and state media.”
Reacting to Centre’s comment, Congress’ V Gurunadham claimed, at least 50 people died in the state due to the poor distribution strategy.
“Health is a state subject but the oxygen distribution system is in the hands of the Government of India. If it is supplied properly accordingly, it is okay. But they have to supply to state governments properly. Several deaths took place. In Vijayanagaram government hospital, two deaths occurred in April. In Hindupur, Kurnool, Ruia. More than 50 deaths have been reported across the state due to lack of oxygen,” he said.
He further blamed negligence on the part of government officials for the deaths.
In a written reply to Congress MP KC Venugopal on whether a large number of COVID-19 patients died on roads and hospitals due to acute shortage of oxygen in the second wave, Minister of State for Health Dr. Bharati Pravin Pawar had pointed out that health is a state subject and accordingly all states/UTs report cases and deaths to the Union Health Ministry on a regular basis.
She also stated that the Government of India has supported the States and undertook a series of actions including provisioning medical oxygen.
Dr. Pawar also highlighted that the medical oxygen demand in the country during the second wave peaked at nearly 9000 Metric Tonnes (MT) as compared to 3095 MT during the first wave.
(With inputs from ANI)