Centre wants states to say there were no deaths due to oxygen shortage: Manish Sisodia

The Lieutenant Governor had earlier rejected a four- member expert committee formed by the Delhi government in June to look into the deaths due to oxygen shortage during the second wave of COVID-19.

Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on August 20 said Lieutenant Governor (LG) Anil Baijal has again rejected the Delhi government’s proposal to form a panel to "investigate deaths due to oxygen shortage" in the national capital.

“No one can deny that Delhi grappled with an oxygen crisis in April and May during the second Covid wave and also no one can deny that people died in the capital due to shortage of oxygen,” he said during an online press conference. "We had resubmitted a file for the constitution of a panel to probe deaths due to oxygen shortage. The LG is saying that there is no need for that," Mr. Sisodia said.

The Deputy Chief Minister alleged that on one hand, the Centre has been asking States to inform many people died due to shortage of oxygen and on the other, "you have not been allowing us to investigate such deaths".

"Then how will States tell?" he questioned. "That means the Centre wants us to give in writing that no death occurred due to the shortage of oxygen. It will be a big lie," Mr. Sisodia added.

He claimed that the Centre was responsible for oxygen mismanagement in April and May and whether it was deliberate or a mistake is a matter of investigation. “The Centre will have to accept that it was responsible for the oxygen crisis,” Mr. Sisodia said.

The Deputy Chief Minister had last week written to Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya that it is difficult to ascertain without a probe if there were any oxygen-related deaths during the second Covid wave, and the Delhi government is seeking fresh approval from the LG to form an expert panel for it.

The Delhi government had in June formed a four-member expert committee to look into the deaths due to the shortage of oxygen during the second wave of COVID-19. The committee was rejected by the LG.

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