Arvind Kejriwal urges States to join hands in fight against COVID-19

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. File   | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

New Delhi

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday appealed to his counterparts in other States to come together to confront and defeat COVID-19 instead of allowing borders to divide their response to the pandemic.

Addressing a digital briefing, the Delhi Chief Minister also pledged to provide resources such as oxygen, essential medicines and medical personnel, including doctors, to other States as and when these were in a position of being shared.

“Over the last few days, we have witnessed paucity of oxygen, medicines, vaccination and other resources across the country due to the COVID situation. Delhi has also been facing issues especially related to oxygen. I have personally spent entire nights attempting to ensure oxygen supply to city hospitals,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

“According to Delhi government estimates, the city requires a daily supply of 700 tonnes of oxygen. The Centre had allocated a quota of 378 tonnes of oxygen to Delhi initially but has increased that to 480 tonnes, for which we are very, very thankful. Though it is lower than what is required, we are thankful for the increase,” he added.

The Centre, Mr. Kejriwal pointed out, also decides which company will supply oxygen to different States and cities such as Delhi where oxygen is not manufactured. Oxygen manufactured by companies in other States is allocated to others according to the Centre’s directions, he said.

Some State governments, Mr. Kejriwal alleged, where such manufacturing units were located, had stopped the transportation of oxygen allocated to Delhi and used it themselves, given the circumstances and paucity of oxygen.

“I want to thank the Centre and the Delhi High Court for helping us with this issue. I, Delhi’s ministers and officers have not slept for several nights and were in constant touch with the Centre over the issue of oxygen supply which has helped us,” he said.

“But the increased supply will take some time and we are mulling airlifting oxygen from Odisha. In the meantime, I am personally ensuring that every truck with oxygen reaches its destination. Like I had promised, these six days are being utilised to ramp up our medical infrastructure as much as possible round the clock,” he also said.

The pandemic, Mr. Kejriwal said, was “a very big emergency” and everyone needed to come together to confront and defeat it. It was a time to rise above State divisions and become Indians and “good human beings.”

Instead of watching how supplies of essential resources were stopped by one State from reaching another, people wanted to see how these States were helping each other in this time of need, he said.

“We have to come together and fight this together; it is only then that this country will be saved. If we get divided into States at this time, who will save India? I appeal to all citizens, all governments to come together and fight together. If we get divided right now, no one will be able to save us,” he said.

“I want to assure you as the Chief Minister of Delhi that I will share my resources with other States as soon as possible. We have to show the world how India, despite having the highest COVID cases in the whole world, came together to fight and defeat this pandemic,” he added.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 6:42:27 AM |

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