Centre lashes out at Delhi govt for mismanagement of COVID-19 crisis

The Ministry of Home Affairs lashed out at the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government for mismanagement of available infrastructure and support in the fight against COVID-19, leading to a tragic loss of lives. The ministry directed the state government to resolve the logistics issue immediately and set up a control room to address the crisis in an “urgent, effective, innovative and result oriented” way.

In a letter on April 25 to Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that efforts of the administration have not been up to the mark.

Bhalla stated that due to the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis and the alarming rise in the number of cases throughout the country, the Central Government has started procurement and augmentation of medical oxygen on a war footing from all available sources. Over and above other immediate steps for augmenting the supply of oxygen, the Centre has prohibited all major industries from using oxygen for industrial purposes. They have been directed to supply this oxygen only for medical use.

He added that the government has not only arranged some tankers both from within the country and abroad but has also airlifted empty tankers to distant supply sites like Durgapur and Jamshedpur to ensure speedy supply across the nation. Special trains have been deployed for the speedy supply of oxygen. “Number of tankers are mounted on these trains and it gets an uninterrupted passage,” Bhalla said.

The Centre has also issued directions to all the state governments to ensure uninterrupted movement of oxygen tankers by passing orders under the Disaster Management Act.

“The Government of India has specially created an inter-ministerial “Virtual Central Control Room” at national level having a team of dedicated senior officers of Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary rank from Health, DPIIT, MHA, MoRTH, Railways, Steel Ministries etc. and senior officers of States/UTs which monitors and finds solutions to any problems in this regard 24×7 on real-time basis,” the official said.

However, the Delhi government has hardly been able to arrange any tankers so far.

“You are requested to urgently take immediate action in this regard as is being done by Chief Secretaries and other officials of other States/UTs,” Bhalla said.

Delhi had been allocated 480 MT on 21.04.2021 after consultation with officers of the Delhi Government.

(With IANS inputs)

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