Maharashtra govt, Centre lock horns over supply of oxygen and Remdesivir

Our Bureau Pune | Updated on April 17, 2021

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray   -  PTI

The Centre and the Maharashtra government have locked horns over supply of oxygen and remdesivir to the State.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray said that he has been trying to contact Prime Minister Narendra Modi since Friday evening to inform him about the need for oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients, but was not able to speak to him because the Prime Minister was “busy” in the West Bengal election campaign.

A press statement from the Chief Minister’s office said that Thackeray gave this information during the discussions he had with industrialists to tackle the Covid-19 situation. The press release added that the “State needs oxygen and all oxygen produced is being used for medical purpose. Considering the number of patients, there is need for more oxygen and I have informed PM about this. Even yesterday evening I contacted him but I couldn’t speak to him as he is busy in the West Bengal elections. However, the Centre is cooperating with the State.”

Rising Covid cases

Maharashtra reported 63,729 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, the highest single-day spike. As many as 398 Covid-19 deaths were reported in the State on Friday.

Railways Minister Piyush Goyal, in a series of tweets, hit back at Thackeray. “Saddened to see @OfficeOfUT’s gimmicks on oxygen. GoI, with all stakeholders, is ensuring maximum oxygen production in India. We are currently producing 110% of oxygen generating capacity and diverting all available Oxygen from industrial use to medical use” tweeted and BJP leader.

“Maharashtra has so far received the highest quantity of oxygen. The Centre is in daily touch with State governments to assess their needs and help them in best possible manner. Maharashtra is suffering from an inept & corrupt government & the Centre is doing its best for the people,” Goyal tweeted adding that the CM should follow his duties.

Supplies rushed: Minister

Following Thackeray’s charges, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan spoke to him on Saturday evening.

Harsh Vardhan tweeted, “Spoke to #Maharashtra CM Sh Uddhav Thackeray Ji Reassured @OfficeofUT of adequate & uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen & all possible support w.r.t healthcare infra, medicines & therapeutics. Additional 1,121 ventilators are also being rushed to them given the surge in cases”.

He added, “Discussed with @OfficeofUT reg further stringent actions to be taken for containment, surveillance & treatment of #COVID19 cases. Reiterated the need to focus on the 5 pillars “Test, Track, Treat, Covid Appropriate Behaviour & Vaccination” to tide over the emergent health crisis”.

Remdesivir ‘blocked’

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader and State Minister Nawab Malik alleged that the Central government was not allowing Remdesivir producing companies to sell export-bound stocks in Maharashtra.

The Minister said that 16 export-oriented units have 20 lakh vials of Remdesivir as the Centre has banned exports. He claimed that these units are seeking to sell this medicine in India, but the Centre was denying them permission. He added that the State government will seize the Remdesivir stocks if the Centre fails to issue orders to provide the vials to the State. He alleged that vials were provided to Gujarat while Maharashtra’s demand was ignored.

Published on April 17, 2021

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