The Coronavirus pandemic yesterday touched the 10 million mark worldwide and India has not been left untouched as the cases have been increasing steadily. Metropolitan cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and their governments have failed despondently in containing the spread of the virus. Delhi’s populist Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had made tall claims of tackling Coronavirus initially but when things went a little south, the former IRS officer threw in the towel and shrugged off from his responsibilities saying, “Abb humein Coronavirus ke saath jeena hoga” (We will have to live with Coronavirus).
Kejriwal’s AAP government came up with outrageous ideas like trying to reserve Delhi hospitals for Delhi residents to tackle the public health emergency. As if the Coronavirus Pandemic wasn’t enough, the Delhi government also tried to rake up regional parochialism and bias.
His deputy, Manish Sisodia took things a step further when he created panic amongst the Delhites by coming up with some atrocious data-figures, which only highlighted Delhi government’s apathy towards Delhites.
On June 9, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had claimed that the cases in Delhi would rise to 2.5 lakh by July 15 and the government would require 33,000 beds. He had also said that there will be 5.5 lakh cases in the national capital by July-end.
However, when things looked grim for Delhi after the abject surrender by its leaders, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah swooped in and since then things have been moving in the right direction.
In an interview with ANI yesterday, Home Minister Amit Shah said the centre had to intervene in Delhi’s COVID situation because Deputy CM Manish Sisodia’s statement that the national capital would witness 5.5 lakh cases by July 31 had created panic among the people.
Under Amit Shah’s aegis, eight thousand beds have already been made in railway coaches and another 8,000 beds are being prepared. Meanwhile, DRDO is making an exclusive COVID-hospital in which there will be 250 ICU beds and with ventilators.
“By June 30, 30,000 beds will be available. A 10,000-bed facility has also been set up at the Radha Soami Beas, (Chhattarpur) keeping the rainy season in mind.” said Amit Shah in the interview.
The Chhatarpur centre has been named Sardar Patel COVID centre and covers an area of 12,50,000 square feet, as large as 22 football fields, with preinstalled fans and CCTV cameras. The ITBP, which managed to build the facility at Delhi within a short span of time, will also be responsible for the operation of the 10,000-bed facility.
“I can say now with confidence that situation of 5.5 lakh cases will not come on July 31,” assured the Home Minister.
However, the Sardar Patel COVID Centre has brought a fresh spell of controversy for Kejriwal and his government as its ministers tried to take credit for the facility on social media.
.@ArvindKejriwal gives what is a true tribute to Sardar Patel – India’s largest medical facility at the time of a global pandemic! This is the India that Sardar Patel would be proud of; not one where billions of rupees are wasted on statues. pic.twitter.com/4KQE5KlTRL
— Atishi (@AtishiAAP) June 27, 2020
However, the netizens were quick to point out that the Kejriwal government had long left the battlefield and if this facility came up in record time, it was due to Amit Shah’s effort. Several people on Twitter also claimed that if it was actually built by the AAP govt, it would not have been named after Sardar Patel.
While Atishi was doing all in her habit to take the credit, her party leader Arvind Kejriwal tweeted otherwise—thanking Amit Shah.
इस मुसीबत की घड़ी में दिल्ली को करोना से बचाने के लिए मैंने सबसे सहयोग माँगा। और सबने बढ़ चढ़ के सहयोग किया। केंद्र सरकार और राधा स्वामी ब्यास के सहयोग से अपने दिल्ली वालों के लिए इतना बड़ा करोना सेंटर बन गया है। pic.twitter.com/OqRYdL2Z03
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) June 27, 2020
Shah also spoke about the need of coordination meeting called by him over the coronavirus crisis in Delhi and said that normally it is the duty of the Delhi government “regarding coordination and improving the systems”, adding that PM Modi had asked him to “take an initiative to move forward and help the state government”.
The Union Home Minister also regulated the cost of beds which were being sold at exorbitantly high prices in the national capital.
“The rates for ICU without ventilators were between ₹34,000 to ₹43,000. Now it is ₹13,000 to ₹15,000. ICUs with ventilators previously use to cost ₹44,000 to ₹54,000. It has now been brought down to ₹15,000 to ₹18,000.” said Amit Shah.
Disposal of bodies have been expedited too after Amit Shah’s directions there is no pendency at crematoriums and graveyards run by the civic bodies. The Ministry of Home Affairs had given strict directions to hospitals that going forward there should be no delays in performing last rites.
AAP government which took pride in itself for creating the best healthcare infrastructure in the country through Mohalla Clinics and state-of-the-art hospitals even started threatening and harassing the doctors to hide its callousness. The Supreme Court had given a rap on the knuckle to the Kejriwal government and pulled it for trying to harass the doctors.
Even then, the Union Home Minister Amit Shah had visited the LNJP hospital, where the doctors were harassed and held a high-level meeting with officials to review the functioning of the hospital. Amit Shah had immediately provided 500 oxygen cylinders, around 10,000 oximeters and 440 ventilators to the hospital, after hearing the grievances of the medical staff.
Speaking about the twin threats India is facing in the form of Coronavirus and the Chinese on the border, the level-headed Home Minister iterated that India was poised to win both battles.
“Dono jung hum jeetenge. Main janta ko ashwast karna chahata hun ki Modi ji ke netritva mein dono jung hum jeetenge. (We will win both the battles. I want to assure the people that under Narendra Modi’s leadership we will win both the battles.),” he said in the interview.
The COVID-19 pandemic should be an eye-opener for Delhites who voted for Arvind Kejriwal and his populist policies. The result was a complete breakdown in the state machinery in tackling the threat of an invisible enemy that is one-billionth the size of humans. If Amit Shah would not have come around, Delhi’s condition would have been perilous.
It’s high time the Kejriwal government gets off its high horse and instead of spending crores on marketing and PR gimmicks focuses on bringing substantial change on the ground.