Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday questioned the Centre over its decision to reduce the number of oxygen, ICU and ventilator beds in hospitals, which she said came despite reports indicating the need for a large number of beds during the second wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) across the country.
“From September 2020 to January 2021, the Modi Government reduced: Oxygen beds by 36%, ICU beds by 46%, Ventilator beds by 28%. Why? When every expert in the country, the Parliamentary Committee on Health and their own Sero-surveys warned them that additional…beds would be needed for an inevitable second wave. #ZimmedarKaun?” she tweeted along with a video message.
The Congress leader’s video message came as the country recorded 114,460 fresh cases of Covid-19 and 2,677 related deaths on Sunday. India’s total infection tally has reached 28.80 million and the death toll is nearing 1.5 million, according to the Union ministry of health and family welfare on Sunday morning.
“When they came into power, they cut the health budget by 20%. They promised AIIMS everywhere, they said district facilities will be upgraded, but they did nothing. Instead, the Central Vista project was declared an ‘essential service’ and people are working day in and day out to complete it by 2023. Is the health of the Indian citizens less important than the central vista project? Priyanka Gandhi was heard asking in the video she uploaded on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs released a document to bust the alleged myths around the Central Vista project. Among other things, the release talked about the funds for the project and the environmental issues surrounding it.
The Opposition criticised the Union government for spending ₹20,000 crore on the project during the Covid-19 crisis, to which the ministry said that the redevelopment plan was planned in 2019, which was before the pandemic struck. Moreover, ₹20,000 crore is a rough estimate of all the planned development or redevelopment works, the ministry added.
“Till date, only 2 projects of New Parliament Building with tendered cost ₹862 crore and Redevelopment of Central Vista Avenue with tendered cost ₹477 crore have been awarded and works are underway. Expenditure incurred on these 2 projects till March 2021 is ₹195 crore and budget provision for 2021-22 is ₹790 crore,” the ministry said.