Delhi is in a state of stability: Manish Sisodia

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister speaks exclusively to The Daily Guardian and discusses his government’s roadmap to fight Covid-19 during Unlock 2.0.

Q. Unlock 2.0 has started from 1 July, but a lot of things have not been allowed to open yet. Is it fine according to you, or did you want some more changes?

A. Given the conditions in Delhi, it is fine. That’s what we wanted. Corona’s graph needs to go down.

Q. The Prime Minister said that people did not follow Unlock 1.0 properly. Do you also believe that people in Delhi are not taking care?

A. I think there are so many difficult situations; people have to run their own lives. We should not expect people to leave everything and sit at home. But I would like to give credit to the people that I myself thought that the situation will get worse by the end of June, although we are much better than the estimate taken from the site of the Government of India. Today, we are in a state of stability. This shows that the people of Delhi and the team of Delhi have worked in this direction.

Q. You have estimated that by 31 July, there will be 5.5 lakh patients in Delhi. About 80,000 beds will be needed for the people of Delhi and the same number of people will be needed for outsiders, i.e. 1.60 lakh beds will be required in the hospitals of Delhi. It so happened that the Home Minister of the country had to land in Delhi.

A. The first thing is that we did not make these estimates; these were made by the experts of the Government of India by posting them on its website. People will not be so alert if they do not realise how big the danger is. Just 6,000 beds are full because our preparation was so much. Everyone had to prepare for it — the people, the Delhi government and the Central government. This is the reason why we are standing here where we have 15 thousand beds and if we need it, we have it. The difference is that today only 6,000 beds are needed.

 Q. But while listening to the Home Minister, it seemed from his words that you created a state of confusion and the Home Minister had to interrupt to handle it.

A. I thank the Home Minister for his contribution. He provided us with railway coaches, ITBP doctors in a hospital of 10,000 beds. Amid all this, can any government think of fighting alone? We still need support and we need everyone’s cooperation.

Q. LNJP hospital’s pictures were constantly appearing on social media which showed enormous trouble and suffering. You did not have CCTV cameras installed even though it was always asked to do so. Why did such a situation arise that the Home Minister had to personally visit LNJP?

A. The biggest role here is of the doctors to improve the situation. When I say doctors, I mean that the medical staff is responsible for the condition or treatment provided. We can only give decisions and provide facilities but it is the job of the medical staff to cure the people. Now whoever wants to take credit in it can do so, we are happy that people’s lives are being saved.

Q. In Unlock 2.0, schools and colleges are still not opening, do you think that they will be able to open this year?

A. Things are not the same today. If the situation improves, the idea of opening schools and colleges may be considered in August.

Q. When will Plasma Bank start?

 A. There are 4 focus points of the Chief Minister right now — first is testing. Today, the maximum number of testing is being done in Delhi. 20,000 tests are taking place every day in Delhi which are not taking place anywhere else. Secondly, another 6,000 beds are needed today and we are standing at 15,000. Thirdly, arrangements for isolation are there too. Fourth is the ‘Plasma Bank’ which is not a solution but there is a hope. It has been observed that the chances of survival are increasing up to 30 per cent that is why we are appealing to the public to donate plasma. We don’t know who needs it when, so we are starting a bank.

 Q. Are you able to get a salary since you said that the Delhi government does not have the money to pay salaries?

A. There is no relief from the central government yet but the hope is fulfilled. He also went ahead and supported us in Corona. We are confident that he (PM Modi) will help. The situation in Delhi is very light now financially.

The economy has gone down a lot. Rs 7,505 crore tax has come in the first 3 months of this year. After that, in 3 months, only  Rs 2,500 crore tax has come in. The situation is something to be worried about. We are hoping for help from the Centre.

Q. Do you think the steps taken regarding China are right or should some other steps be taken?

A. We are with the Central government and the army and everyone should stand united at this time. If our land has been occupied, then whatever is needed must be done, the integrity of India must remain.