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Maharashtra, Centre spar over missing oxygen plants

A worker sorts medical oxygen cylinders for COVID-19 patients, in Mumbai. Representational image   | Photo Credit: PTI

After row over supply of vaccines and key drug Remdesivir, Maharashtra and the Central government have now locked horns over allotment of money to construct oxygen plants in the State.

Congress, a coalition partner in Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government, on Monday said the Central government-affiliated Central Medical Services Society (CMSS) that was to set up 10 Pressure Swing Absorption plants in the State according to the January 2021 announcement.

“It was a Central government scheme and not a single rupee was given to the State government. The Centre was going to construct those plants. Even though 10 districts had been chosen, the Central government did not move ahead even with the tender process,” said Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe.

According to Mr Londhe, Washim, Satara, Hingoli, Ahmadnagar, Bhandara, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Buldhana, Osmanabad and Sindhudurg were chosen as sites for the plants by the centre but no actual work took place on the ground. “BJP is spreading the mis-information that the money was given to State government and that it was not utilised. Money was never meant for State government as the project was to be set up by an organisation working under Central government,” he added.

The BJP while not responding to the Congress’ allegations, repeated the charge that the State government had failed to set up the plants. Minister of State in Centre and former State BJP chief Raosaheb Danve claimed that it has become the habit of Maharashtra government to blame everything on Centre.

“Maharashtra is getting the lion’s share in all the allotment from the Central government like 1,784 MT oxygen which is highest in the country,” said Mr. Danve. On Sunday, former CM Devendra Fadnavis had made similar claims.

The Congress also questioned the 1,784 MT oxygen allotment also, saying 1,250 MT of this came from Maharashtra’s in-house capacity.

“It is nothing but bluff, yet again, by the BJP,” said party’s general secretary Sachin Sawant. According to Mr Sawant, as per the Centre’s allotment, Maharashtra is getting110 MT/day from Bhilai, 50 MT/day from Bellari, 125 MT from Jamnagar, 60 MT from Vizag and the Oxygen Express had brought in 110 MT in seven tankers once.

“MVA government had envisaged need of 25,000 MT oxygen during15 days from April 16 to 30. Out of which 17,500 MT was Maharashtra's in-built capacity. Centre was to give 7,500 MT which is 500MT/day. But what we are getting is 345 MT/day. BJP must stop peddling lies,” he said.


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Printable version | Jun 15, 2021 3:33:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/maharashtra-centre-spar-over-missing-oxygen-plants/article34417054.ece

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