No Oxygen Deaths? Opposition Takes On Centre: 10 Facts

The shortage of medical oxygen had grappled hospitals in April and May.

New Delhi:
No data was provided by states on deaths due to oxygen shortage – the centre’s statement has triggered a huge political backlash. At the peak of second wave, the struggle of the hospitals and patients across India had captured the world’s attention.

Here is your ten-point cheat sheet on this big story:

  1. Oxygen shortage led to many deaths in country, including the national capital, Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today, hitting out at the government. “It’s completely false to say no one died due to oxygen crisis. Why were the hospitals making desperate appeals everyday at High Court? The centre may soon say there was no pandemic,” he said.ย 

  2. “In Delhi, we had set up an (audit) committee. If the panel was still there, the data could be provided easily. But the central government, via the Lieutenant Governor, didn’t allow it to submit the report,” Mr Jain insisted. The state panel offered Rs 5 lakh as compensation but ย Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal said centre had already set up a panel, the AAP government said.ย 

  3. In a written reply to Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, Junior Health Minister Bharati Praveen Pawar said that health is a state subject and states and union territories regularly report the number of cases and deaths to the Centre. “However, no deaths due to lack of oxygen have been specifically reported by states and UTs,” added Ms Pawar.ย 

  4. Blaming the states, the country’s new Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya further told the parliament: “Prime Minister repeatedly told the states…. deaths have to be registered, there’s no reason to hide. It’s the responsibility of the states. We keep a record of data provided by the states. That’s all the central government has to do.”

  5. Shiv Sena’s Sanjay Raut today slammed the ruling BJP over the statements. “I am speechless. For families who’ve lost their loved ones due to the shortage of medical oxygen – how would they’ve felt on listening to this. These families should file a case against the government,” he told reporters.

  6. Centre has ”lied” that there was no oxygen crisis in country during the second wave, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said. The government is trying to hide its fault, he stressed, and it’s “policy was a disaster”.ย 

  7. In Delhi, 25 people had died in April at the Jaipur Golden Hospital. Twenty-three-year-old Gaurav Gera and his sister Bharti lost both their parents in the tragedy. “We were pained to hear the government’s statements in the parliament. My father was fine. In the night, we got a call that we lost him. Doctor told us about oxygen shortage,” he recalled. “We’ve lost our parents but the politics is still on,” he said.

  8. In Uttar Pradesh’s Lucknow, 61-year-old Shankar Dayal, who worked at one of the city’s biggest government hospitals till 2020, died gasping for oxygen at his home. “We went to many hospitals initially, but we were denied admission. There were no beds, and no oxygen. We had to bring father back home. He died because we could not arrange a fresh oxygen cylinder. We went through an endless struggle. If oxygen was so readily available, why did we have to stand in queues for 10-12 hours?” Prince Kumar, one of his sons asked as he spoke to NDTV.

  9. ย India saw a massive shortage of medical oxygen and hospital beds during the peak of the second Covid wave and many nations had come forward to help amid desperate appeals on social media. In Goa, more than 80 people died at a state-run medical facility over five days in May. In Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, ย 11 Covid patients who were at the ICU of a hospital died

  10. Courts across the country saw marathon hearings over the issue as patients and their families faced shortage and black-marketing of oxygen cylinders. India is now witnessing a drop in daily Covid cases amid concerns over a third wave.


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