The prime minister is too busy with the Bengal election campaign, the Maharahstra’s chief minister said.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray reportedly tried to speak to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 17 about the state’s severe oxygen shortage, but was unable to pass as the latter was campaigning in West Bengal , according to sources from the Office of the Chief Minister (CMO). mentionned.
“The CM called the Prime Minister around 10:30 am this morning; this was his third attempt since yesterday to speak to Mr Modi, but we were told he is busy campaigning in West Bengal and will return the call when he returns, ”a source told CMO.
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However, the Union government said on April 17 “shocked and saddened to see petty politics being played out” on the issue of oxygen scarcity by Mr. Thackeray.
Mr. Modi addressed two rallies in West Bengal on April 17 – in Asansol and Gangarampur.
Two days ago, Mr. Thackeray wrote to Mr. Modi asking for his intervention to ensure the supply of Remidisivir and the authorization to carry oxygen from the northeastern states to Maharashtra, which faces to a shortage.
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The lack of response from the Prime Minister’s Office provided new ammunition for the opposition to criticize the government’s negligent behavior. Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP Priyanka Chaturvedi said in a tweet: “We will be waiting for the Hon. PM, for your electoral campaign and gatherings to conclude for an urgent intervention to save lives. But those who need Remdesevir and oxygen may not have the luxury of time sir. PS: * THE EPIDEMIC IS AN EMERGENCY AND NOT AN ELECTION. * ”
Speaking at a press conference in Delhi, Chief Congress Officer P. Chidambaram also criticized Mr. Modi saying he should have been at his desk to coordinate with state governments instead of campaign in West Bengal.
“The PM must be at his office, accessible to all MCs in this country. Chief ministers cannot speak to the Prime Minister’s private secretary, ”said the former finance minister.
The government, he said, should have planned in advance to increase the oxygen supply. There is enough capacity in this country to produce medical oxygen. “Why did the Prime Minister and his team ignore the fact that the oxygen supply will become critical when the numbers double. They had a whole year to prepare for the second wave, ”Mr. Chidambaram said.
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Trinamool Congressman Derek O’Brien tweeted: “Shocker. Maharashtra CM @OfficeofUT called Modi to request an urgent supply of oxygen for his state. Has been informed that the PM is busy campaigning in Bengal. Will respond to his return, ”
Adding to the controversy, NCP chief and Uddhav Thackeray government minister Nawab Malik alleged that Remidisivir injection suppliers were specifically told by the central government not to supply the drug to Maharashtra and to do so. divert to Gujarat.
“About 16 exporters are sitting on a storage of 20 lakh vials of Remidisivir. When the state government inquired about the supply, they informed that the central government had banned them from supplying the drug to Maharashtra and even threatened to cancel their permit if they did so, ”said Mr. Malik. He said that looking at the drug shortage in the state, the government will have no choice but to seize all storage.
He presented a letter from the commissioner. The Food & Drug Control Administration of Gujarat addressed M / s BDR Lifesciences Pvt Ltd based in Vadodara, ordering the company to supply and market Remidisivir only in Gujarat.
The government denies CM
Responding to Mr. Thackeray, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal said in a strongly worded statement that he was “saddened to see Uddhav Thackeray’s gadgets” on the issue of oxygen supply and added that Mr. Thackeray was to “stop his daily dose of blatant politics and take responsibility.”
“The Indian government, together with all stakeholders, is ensuring maximum oxygen production in India. We are currently producing 110% of oxygen production capacity and diverting all available oxygen from industrial to medical use, ”said Mr. Goyal. He added that Maharashtra had so far received the largest amount of oxygen in India and the Center coordinates daily with states to assess needs and ensure assistance.
He also revealed that the Prime Minister during his meetings to review the availability of oxygen etc. emphasized synergy with state governments.
“Maharashtra suffers from an incompetent and corrupt government and the Center is doing its best for the people. The people of Maharashtra conscientiously follow “Majha Kutumbh, Majhi Javabdari” (my family, my responsibility). It is time that the CM of the State also fulfills its duty in the spirit of “Majha Rajya, Majhi Javabdari” (my State, my responsibility) “, added the Minister.
Government sources said The Hindu that the sharp answer came after many days of “accusations and allegations” by the Maharashtra rulers of the Maha Vikas Aghadi government.
Calling these actions a diversionary tactic of the state’s “mismanagement” of the COVID-19 pandemic “whenever it is in the spotlight.” Sources said that “when the CM of Maharashtra descended to the level of petty and false allegations against the prime minister, ministers had to give a factual position. Our response should not be interpreted as a mere tit-for-tat but as a factual response, ”the source said.