The Haryana government on Friday, August 20, informed the Assembly that there had been no deaths related to a lack of oxygen in the state during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Health Minister Anil Vij had responded to a question by Congress MLA Aftab Ahmed with a written reply stating that the state has reported a total of 9,665 COVID-related deaths till August 20, however, none of those deaths was a result of lack of oxygen, according to a report by NDTV.
Ahmed asked the state government to disclose the district-wise deaths which occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic from March 24, 2020, to July 31, 2021, as well as the district-wise deaths due to lack of oxygen during the period.
The House was informed that Hisar had reported a maximum of 1,037 COVID-related deaths while Gurgaon had reported 919 fatalities.
Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar had replied to another related question during Question Hour and had also reiterated that so far, no COVID patient has died due to lack of oxygen in the state.
However, Congress leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda claimed the government was hiding the actual number of deaths due to coronavirus and lack of oxygen, as per a report by NDTV.
"The government should form a high-level committee to find out the exact figure of deaths. The government should tell what lessons it has learnt from the damage done during the first and second waves. If the third wave comes, how many doctors, nursing staff have been recruited to deal with it," Hooda said.
CM Khattar assured the House that measures were being taken to handle the surge in the demand for medical oxygen and that arrangements were made for ensuring uninterrupted oxygen supply during the second wave of COVID.
He stated that Haryana had initially received a quota of 150 MT of oxygen from the Centre, which was later was increased to 285 MT, although the state had demanded 350 MT of oxygen. He added that arrangements were made through all modes of transport including road, air, and rail.
Khattar had also remarked that their government had done their duty in times of peril and that the opposition had an old habit of criticising everything.
A report by The Hindu on April 26th, 2021, however, had stated that eight COVID-19 patients had died at two hospitals in Haryana alleging that the cause of death was attributed to a shortage of oxygen supply. Four individuals had reportedly died at Virat Hospital in Rewari while another four had succumbed to the virus at Kathuria Hospital in Gurugram.
A staffer of Virat Hospital, who had spoken to the local media, claimed that the oxygen supply to the hospital was not provided on time despite repeated requests.
A Step In Right Direction
In a welcomed decision, the Haryana government stated that they will provide financial assistance of ₹2 lakh to poor families who lost their members due to COVID-19. Families with an annual income up to ₹1.80 lakh will be eligible to get assistance from the state, according to Live Mint.