Government

Ask Army to Take Over All Oxygen Plants, Ensure Supply: Kejriwal at PM's Meet With CMs

"People in major pain due to oxygen shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves," the Delhi chief minister said.

New Delhi: Raising alarm that a “big tragedy” may happen due to oxygen shortage in hospitals during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Friday said the Centre should take over all oxygen plants through the Army.

During the meeting, however, Prime Minister Narendra Modi rebuked Kejriwal for telecasting the proceedings.

In a meeting chaired by Modi on the COVID-19 situation, Kejriwal requested him to direct chief ministers of all states to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to the national capital.

“People in major pain due to oxygen shortage. We fear a big tragedy may happen due to oxygen shortage and we will never be able to forgive ourselves. I request you with folded hands to direct all CMs to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers coming to Delhi,” he said during the meeting.

“We need a national plan to deal with the crisis. Centre government should take over all oxygen plants through the Army and every tanker coming out of the oxygen plant should be accompanied by an Army escort vehicle,” he said.

“The oxygen supply scheduled to come to Delhi from Odisha and West Bengal should either be airlifted or brought through the Oxygen Express started by the Centre,” he said.

The chief minister also objected to different rates being charged from state governments and the Centre for the COVID-19 vaccine, and said “one nation, one rate” policy should be followed.

Modi held a meeting on Friday with chief ministers of 10 states with the most number of COVID-19 cases.

When Kejriwal began talking, he said, “My belief is that if there is a national plan against Covid then the centre and all state governments can work together in that direction. Our departed souls…” He was then interrupted by Modi, NDTV reported, who asked why Kejriwal was telecasting the proceedings.

What is happening… this is strictly against our tradition, our protocol… that some chief minister is showing a live telecast of an in-house meeting,” Modi said. “This is not appropriate, we should always maintain restraint.”

Kejriwal reportedly apologised and said he would be more careful in the future.

The meeting via video conferencing comes amid a huge surge in coronavirus cases, which have now clocked a daily total of over three lakh in the country.

Chief ministers of Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi are among those who attended the meeting.

Modi will hold a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers in the country via video conference amid concerns expressed by some states that their supply of the life-saving gas is running short with a number of hospitals sending out SOS.

(With PTI inputs)