Aided by an elaborate PR machinery team, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackrey has managed to hide his failure in combating the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Now, reports have emerged suggesting that the Maha Vikas Aghadi government is stopping the medical aid supply from reaching neighbouring states.
According to an AajTak report, 45 oxygen concentrators that landed from the Netherlands at Mumbai airport and were bound for Indore, Madhya Pradesh were stalled for 48 hours, before they could reach the destination. The report states that in view of the burgeoning second wave of Covid in Indore, the Association of Chartered Accountants purchased 45 oxygen concentrators from the Netherlands with the help of citizens of Indore living in the country.
Although these 45 oxygen concentrators reached India from the Netherlands in 24 hours, it took 48 hours to bring them from Mumbai to Indore. Not only the delivery was late but the MVA government imposed a tax of Rs 3 lakh and later the truck carrying the consignment was forced to pay a bribe of Rs 1000. Thus, it appears that the Uddhav government knowingly created the bottlenecks to stall the delivery.
The AajTak report added that diaspora members collected about 18 lakh rupees for their home state before the CA Association raised another Rs 12 lakh from its members. Thus an order for 45 oxygen concentrators against a sum of Rs 30 lakh was placed. Sensing the gravity of the situation, the Netherlands government also sprang into action and ensured that the speedy delivery of the consignment took place.
Right from the moment the concentrators were purchased to the time they were delivered at Mumbai, the Netherlands government ensured that the entire process of delivery over a 7,000-kilometre distance didn’t take more than 24 hours.
However, the red-taping and bureaucratic mess of the Uddhav Thackeray government ensured that patients who were gasping for oxygen had to wait strenuously for the concentrators to reach them.
Expressing displeasure, Chairman of the Association of Chartered Accountants, Kirti Joshi said that the oxygen concentrator had reached Mumbai only on 3 May, but could reach Indore in the evening of 5 May. That too when in addition to tax of three lakh rupees, one thousand rupees had to be bribed along the way.
The case count may have gone down in Mumbai but Uddhav Thackeray needs to wake up from his deep slumber and act fast to reduce the case count in other cities and districts. The coronavirus does not see state or country boundaries and while Mumbai might be breathing easy at the moment, it cannot let its guard down, until the case count in neighbouring cities/districts has reduced. Meanwhile, the state CM can also let go of his petty politics and not try to hijack or stall the medical aid supply of neighbouring states.