New Delhi, April 18, 2021: As India recorded over two lakh coronavirus cases for the fourth day in a row, the Maharashtra government and the Centre remained locked in a political feud on the issue of supply of medical oxygen and antiviral drug Remdesivir to the worst-affected state.
Attacking Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for "petty politics" over the Covid-19 handling, Union minister Piyush Goyal said that Maharashtra has so far received the highest quantity of oxygen in India.
Maharashtra is suffering from an inept and corrupt government and the Centre is doing its best for the people. People of Maharashtra are following ’Majha Kutumb, Majhi Javabadari’ dutifully. It is time the CM (chief minister) also follows his duties in the spirit of ’Majha Rajya, Majhi Javabadari’," the commerce and industry minister tweeted.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had alleged that when he had tried to contact Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the phone regarding the supply of medical oxygen for the state, he was told the PM was not available as was campaigning for the West Bengal elections.
Medical-grade oxygen is used for the treatment of critical Covid-19 patients and in other cases of respiratory diseases.
"Maharashtra needs oxygen supply and all oxygen produced is being used for medical purpose. I contacted Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the need for oxygen supply, but he wasn’t available on phone yesterday since he was busy with the West Bengal poll campaign. But the Centre is cooperating with the state," Thackeray was quoted as saying in a release issued by the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO).
Defending the BJP-led central government, Leader of the Opposition in Council Pravin Darekar said, "You are not able to handle the situation and adopt diversionary tactics.”
A war of words also erupted between Union Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya and NCP leader Nawab Malik on the availability of Remdesivir.
Malik, in a series of tweets, alleged that the central government is not giving permission to various export oriented units (EoUs) in the country to sell the drug in the domestic market.
The allegations were strongly refuted by Mandaviya, the Minister of State of Chemicals and Fertilisers, who said the government is making every effort to double the production of the drug in the country.
Tweets by @nawabmalikncp are shocking. It is full of half truths and lies and the threats issued are unacceptable.He is unaware of the ground situation. GoI has been in active contact with officers of GoM and is assisting with supply of Remdesivir in every manner," Mandaviya tweeted.
Earlier, Malik, a minister in the Maharashtra government, alleged that there were 16 EoUs in the country that have 20 lakh vials of Remdesivir available with them.
Later on Saturday, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan spoke to Chief Minister Thackeray and reassured him of an adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen and all possible support related to healthcare infrastructure, medicines and therapeutics.
In a tweet, Vardhan said additional 1,121 ventilators are being rushed to the state considering the surge in coronavirus cases.