Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal mismanaged oxygen allocated by Centre and funds to set up plants, claim BJP leaders.

BJP leaders from Delhi have slammed Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party government, saying that the oxygen crisis in Delhi in the middle of the deadly second wave of Covid-19 is a result of the Delhi government’s mismanagement and that Chief Minister Kejriwal is solely responsible for it.

President of BJP’s Delhi unit Adesh Gupta said, “Despite repeated pleas by the Central Government, the Kejriwal government never took it seriously. When there were about 1 lakh Covid cases, the daily oxygen consumption was 433.1 MT, while the allocation was 590 MT and the state government was demanding 976 MT. At the same time, states like Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, which had 70,000-80,000 cases were able to treat people with about 230-300 MT of oxygen. But the moment the Supreme Court set up a panel for oxygen audits, the Kejriwal government’s demand for oxygen came down to 582 MT as he was afraid of being exposed.”

Leader of Opposition Ramvir Singh Bidhuri said, “The Central Government wrote a letter to the Kejriwal government on April 4, 2020, and September 25, 2020, seeking information on the requirements related to oxygen supply, but Kejriwal didn’t answer as he was busy with his petty politics. The seriousness of his government regarding the health of Delhiites can be gauged from the fact that on 5 January 2021, the Central Government approved the setting up of eight oxygen plants in Delhi and also provided funds from PM CARES for it, but the Kejriwal government has set up only one oxygen plant so far. The Kejriwal government was busy with the kisan agitation instead of setting up oxygen plants as they have to expand their party in Punjab.”

Former Delhi BJP President and MP Manoj Tiwari also blamed the Delhi government for the mismanagement of oxygen supplies. “The Central Government allocated oxygen in line with the Kejriwal government’s demand for oxygen, but the Kejriwal government neither had a tanker arrangement to carry oxygen nor facilities to store it. Instead of reforming these systems, the Kejriwal government’s entire focus was on the black marketing of oxygen. Navneet Kalra, a businessman close to the Chief Minister, was arrested by the Delhi Police for the black marketing of oxygen. The Delhi High Court has given notice to AAP leaders Praveen Kumar and Preeti Tomar, enquiring about the availability of oxygen with them,” he said.

Tiwari further stated that the report of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organization also said that the Centre is supplying additional medical oxygen to Delhi, while arrangements for oxygen supply from other states to Delhi were also made.

“On May 9, 2021, the Kejriwal government returned 74 MT of liquid oxygen supplied by the Linde Company to Faridabad. On May 10, the Kejriwal government returned 38 MT from the Air Liquid Company in Panipat and 37 MT from Inox Company in Surajpur. On the same day, the Kejriwal government asked several medical oxygen refillers to keep about 37.5 MT of oxygen in their storage. So, the Kejriwal government continued to return the oxygen received from the Centre, while Covid patients succumbed to the infection, waiting for oxygen.”

MP Pravesh Sahib Singh also attacked the Delhi government for its “careless and irresponsible attitude” during a crisis. He detailed how Kejriwal had announced that he would set up 44 oxygen plants, import 18 cryogenic tankers from Bangkok and 21 oxygen plants from France, and airlift oxygen from Odisha, but fulfilled none of these promises.