While hospitals in Delhi has been facing the most serious shortage of oxygen due to surge in Covid-19 cases, and CM Arvind Kejriwal has been talking about the shortage for the last few days, it has emerged that he never talked to the centre about it before today. In the review meeting of CMs chaired by the PM on the Covid-19 situation today, the Delhi CM talked about the Oxygen Express initiative of the Indian Railways to transport oxygen, but a statement by the Indian railways reveals that the Delhi has not approached the railways for the same yet.
According to a statement issued by the railways, Maharashtra Government had approached the Ministry of Railways on 15th April to explore the feasibility of transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen tankers by rail from various locations across the country to supply points in Maharashtra, after which the ministry had started the exercise on a war footing to immediately explore options, work out the modalities and prepare a plan for movement of tankers.
After the detailed planning and sourcing of suitable wagons and tankers, the first Oxygen Express started moving from Vizag to Mumbai on 19th April. Railways had constructed ramps in just 24 hours to load and unload the road tankers on the train wagons. After the first transport of oxygen tankers by train from Vizag to Mumbai, other states also came forward with the request for the same.
According to the railways, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have sent requests to transport oxygen tankers, and Madhya Pradesh has also expressed interest. There is no mention of any request received from the Delhi govt in the statement issued yesterday.
While the Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal is yet to take initiatives to ensure availability of oxygen in his state that does not have any production plant, he was found playing politics during the PM’s review meeting. He said that the central govt has proposed to run oxygen express to transport oxygen, to which the PM Modi himself had to intervene and inform that it is not just a proposal, but the trains are already running for that purpose.
The Delhi CM also proposed to airlift oxygen, another initiative that is already being done. The Indian Air Force has already started airlifting oxygen containers, cylinders, essential medicine, equipment and medical personnel for management of the pandemic.
While the farmer protests at several border points around Delhi are delaying the supply of oxygen from neighbouring states, the Delhi CM blamed the neighbouring govts for the shortage in Delhi. He accused that other states are not allowing tankers carrying oxygen allotted to Delhi to leave their states. He requested the PM to talk to the CMs of those states to ensure that oxygen reaches from there to Delhi.
Kejriwal peddles lies on vaccine
During the meeting on such a serious matter, Arvind Kejriwal didn’t refrain from making baseless allegations based on false claims. Referring to the vaccine prices announced by the Serum Institute of India for states and private sector as per govt of India order, he questioned why the prices are different for states and the center. He said that there should be ‘one nation one rate’, conveniently ignoring the clarification already issued by SII CEO Adar Poonawalla. It has been clarified by Poonawalla that they had promised to supply the first 100 million doses at discount the central govt, after which they will charge ₹1000 per dose.
Adar Poonawalla had said that they are supplying vaccine at ₹150 per dose to the centre as per the deal signed before the vaccine was approved, and after the entire quantity is supplied under that contract, the price for central govt will also be ₹400 for any new future deal to supply vaccine.
However, the most shocking thing that Arvind Kejriwal did today was, he allowed his speech during the meeting which was a private meeting of the PM with the CM. As soon as he started speaking, several news channels started live telecasting his speech, which means that the AAP govt had already made arrangements for the same.
As soon as the PM got to know of this fact, he reprimanded Arvind Kejriwal for breaking protocol, and the telecast was immediately stopped. Reportedly, the PM said to Kejriwal, “You have broken a very important protocol, such private conversation are never televised”.
Commenting on the incident, sources in the central govt said that Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal used the PM-CM conference on Covid-19 as a platform to play politics. “He chose to spread lies on vaccine prices despite knowing that Centre does not keep one vaccine dose with itself and shares with states only”, the source said.
According to ANI, the govt source said, “Kejriwal has descended to a new low. For the first time, private conversations of PMs meeting with CM was televised. His entire speech was not meant for any solution but for playing politics and evade responsibility.” They also noted that the suggestions made by Kejriwal are already being implemented, which means he had nothing new to suggest on how to control the pandemic.