New Delhi, April 23
Close on the heels of 25 critically ill Covid patients dying at Delhi’s Gangaram Hospital which was reeling under oxygen shortage all night, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said the Indian Air Force had been deployed to reduce travel time for oxygen supplies.
Faced with the most humongous challenge of his seven-year rule at the Centre, the PM met chief ministers of 11 high-burden states as daily Covid cases crossed the 3.3 lakh mark, continuing to push health systems to the breaking point.
Even as the PM engaged chief ministers on oxygen crisis, hospitals across the national capital took to Twitter to send alarm messages to authorities saying they had only a few hours of oxygen left to sustain patients.
The medical director of Gangaram Hospital on Friday morning said 25 patients had died and over 60 others were in need of medical oxygen supplies.
Similar stories emanated from Delhi’s Holy Family Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital and several others which have been spending their days flagging critically low oxygen supplies when they should have been tending to sick patients.
Outside Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, desperate family members wailed expressing horror and shock at the state of affairs. A woman whose husband had been lying in the open since last night for want of bed or oxygen broke down saying, “Aise kaise chalega?”
Cries of disbelief and anguish rent the air outside all Delhi hospitals even as state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was ticked off by the PM for telecasting his live address at the official meet.
Kejriwal was heard saying to PM at the meet, “Please, Mr PM, call up the chief ministers of states that are blocking oxygen supplies to Delhi even after you enhanced our quota and also tell us who should we call in the Centre if reports or supply obstruction continue to come in. Will Delhi gasp for oxygen because we do not have oxygen plants here?”
The PM interrupted Kejriwal as he relayed his address live and said, “What is being done is against the decorum and discipline of the internal meeting. This is not right.”