As the virulent second wave of COVID-19 cuts awidening swathe across Uttar Pradesh, not just Opposition leaders but lawmakers of the ruling party BJP are also flagging the shortage in oxygen supplies and the rise in cases due to the panchayat polls in the State. A number of legislators from the party have written to local officials and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath raising concerns about COVID-19 facilities in their constituencies.
The State government led by Mr. Adityanath has continuously maintained there is no shortage of oxygen supply in any private or government hospital in Uttar Pradesh.
BJP MLA from Gola Gokrannath in Lakhimpur Kheri, Arvind Giri, on Thursday wrote to the district magistrate urging him to not let people die due to shortage of oxygen and demanded that the facilities in the constituency be urgently ramped up with 25-30 beds, oxygen and supply of medicines. “In the past 10 days, hundreds of people including two dozen friends lost their lives due to lack of oxygen. This is the ground reality,” Mr. Giri wrote. Talking to The Hindu on Friday, the four-time MLA said work to supply oxygen was on and the situation was “serious.”
Lakhimpur Kheri officially reported 4,460 active cases and recorded over 550 new cases.
BJP MLA from the Sawaijpur seat in Hardoi district Madhvendra Pratap Singh has written to Mr. Adityanath and the State Election Commission demanding that counting for the panchayat polls — scheduled on May 2 — be deferred by at least a month fearing that the event could lead to a “super explosion” of cases especially in the rural areas. Mr. Singh said the large number of cases came about as a result of the negligence during the elections. He argued that during counting, which could last 36-48 hours, supporters of every candidate would assemble outside the counting centres.
“People in the villages are not as cautious as they need to be. Deferring the counting would provide some relief. The situation is really bad in my district,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu.
The RSS-affiliated Khand Shiksha Adhikari Sangh also demanded that the counting he deferred.
The BJP MP from Mohanlalganj had earlier demanded that the panchayat polls be deferred owing to the pandemic.
The State Election Commission has, however, indicated that the counting would go as per schedule. It stipulated that polling agents and candidates would be allowed inside the counting centres only if they produce a negative report of RTPCR or Antigen test not more than 48 hours old or report of the completion of their vaccination course.
While the Allahabad High Court recently took note of the deaths of 135 teachers and others deployed on polling duty, the teachers’ unions estimate the figure could be much higher at around 550-1,000 fatalities.
MLA from Aurai in Bhadohi Dinanath Bhaskar wrote to Mr. Adityanath on April 28 demanding a probe into the death of due to COVID of a BJP district general secretary Lal Bahadur Maurya.
Admitted to the Maharaja Balwant Singh L-2 hospital on April 22, Maurya died on April 27. Mr. Bhaskar said that Maurya’s family told him that the hospital did not listen to them when they requested that he be shifted to the ICU and also did not provide him with the Remdesivir injection. The hospital doctor allegedly told Maurya that since he belonged to the ruling party, the CM, DM and CMO would personally treat him, the MLA said.
On April 26, BJP MP from Meerut Rajendra Agarwal wrote that all private and government hospitals in Meerut were dealing with a shortage of oxygen. While Meerut requires 35 metric tonnes of the life saving gas, it was getting only 10 metric tonnes, Mr. Agarwal said. He added that given the rise in the number of cases, oxygen requirement would also go up.
Due to unavailability of oxygen, hospitals are unable to admit patients, he said.
Sunil Bharala, chairman of the State labour council with minister of state status, claimed that 500 persons had died in Meerut due to shortage of oxygen and Remdevisir injection.
Meerut recorded seven deaths and 965 new cases on Thursday and has 12506 active cases as per official data.
On Friday, Samajwadi Party MLA from Meerut Rafiq Ansari wrote to the DM saying that there was a dearth of soil in graveyards due to the high number of deaths due to COVID-19 over the past 15 days. He offered ₹25 lakh from the MLA fund to fill five major graveyards.
“Facing trouble in burying the dead,” he said on social media.
Three BJP MLAs — Ramesh Chandra Diwakar, Suresh Srivastava and Kesar Singh — have died due to COVID over the last one week.