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Business News/ News / India/  Chhattisgarh, Maha waiting for their share of foreign aid

Chhattisgarh, Maha waiting for their share of foreign aid

Drugs, equipment donated by foreign countries are yet to reach us, say state health ministers

Oxygen concentrators donated by Japan arrive in the country on Saturday. PTIPremium
Oxygen concentrators donated by Japan arrive in the country on Saturday. PTI

The health ministers of Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra say no ventilator or oxygen concentrator donated by foreign countries have been delivered yet to their states, and that the Centre isn’t telling them if they will get any of the aid.

The two states are among the worst hit by the second wave of covid.

Chhattisgarh health minister T.S. Singh Deo told Mint on Sunday that he has not been told anything about distribution of oxygen plants and ventilators they had sought. “I had enquired last evening but till then nothing had come... We have no intimation. Maybe All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in (Raipur) Chhattisgarh may have got something, but nothing has come to us. We had asked for 280 ventilators and non-invasive ventilators, nasal cannula, oxygen plants and vaccines. Maybe if something was coming in the aid, they could be included," Deo said.

So far, the Centre had not shared “anything substantial" with the Chhattisgarh government from the foreign aid it has received, he said. The worst-hit state, Maharashtra, has received only about 53,000 vials of remdesivir, but none of the other foreign aid it had requested.

Maharashtra health minister Rajesh Tope on Friday said his government had written letters to the Centre asking for substantial aid in view of the surge in covid-19 cases. “We are hopeful that if such a large amount of aid has been coming in, it is the right of the state to get the assistance. I hope the Centre will not ignore us, and we will get the required aid which we have been demanding for a long time," he added.

Maharashtra has more than 628,000 active cases and reports around 800-900 deaths daily. “We will get at least 1 lakh remdesivir vials from about 13 suppliers from various countries that responded to global tenders," Tope said.

India has received 6,738 oxygen concentrators, 3,856 oxygen cylinders, 16 oxygen generation plants, 4,668 ventilators, BiPAP and C-PAP machines and over 300,000 vials of remdesivir, which, the health ministry said, has been dispatched or delivered to various states.

Another 2,404 oxygen concentrators, 25,000 remdesivir vials, 218 ventilators and nearly 700,000 testing kits were received by India on Sunday.

Recent data and tweets by the Union health ministry show that most of the oxygen concentrators have gone to central government hospitals.

Queries sent to the spokesperson of the ministry, seeking an updated list of hospitals that have received the aid so far, did not elicit replies.

The health ministry on Sunday quoted comments from senior officials of AIIMS in New Delhi, Bhopal, Patna, Raipur, Raebareli and Bibinagar in Telangana about delivery of foreign aid.

NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant denied the allegations, saying that “everything is moving on the field". “This is all false, all lies. We are distributing the assistance in a transparent manner as soon as it arrives, with no delays. There is a well-laid-out procedure for this. The channels are smooth," said Kant.

“We are getting requests from districts for a wide range of things—digital thermometers, oxygen concentrators and cylinders, BiPAP machines, masks, PPE kits, disinfectants. I am getting demands from state officials and district hospitals. Whatever assistance is coming is not enough," an official from an NGO said, on condition of anonymity. The official works directly with the state disaster management authorities in Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.

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Updated: 10 May 2021, 01:54 AM IST
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