Delhi Govt Procurement Agency Ordered No Ventilators in 10 Months, Says RTI Reply

While a rampaging second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has left thousands across the country, including in the national capital, gasping for breath and many hospitals overwhelmed, a Right to Information (RTI) activist says the Delhi government has purchased no ventilators over the past ten months. Madhya Pradesh resident Vivek Pandey had filed a query with the Central Procurement Agency, Directorate of Health Services, Delhi.

The spike in coronavirus cases has left hospitals swamped, creating a critical shortage of oxygen, intensive care beds and ventilators. Many patients with Covid-19 need assistance with their breathing to stay alive. Medical centres in Delhi, in particular, have repeatedly raised such concerns over the past several days, triggering verbal sniping between the city’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre over who is responsible, with the matter also reaching the courts.

Pandey in his query had asked the agency to furnish details of the total number of ventilators purchased by the Delhi government between July 2020 and April 2021. And the RTI activist also wanted to know the number of oxygen cylinders/tanks ordered and purchased by the Delhi government in the same duration.

The reply received on Monday mentioned that the Central Procurement Agency of the Delhi government did not purchase any ventilator in the said period.

The response also elaborated that the Delhi government in the aforementioned period spent Rs 4.15 crore on the purchase of 4,500 oxygen cylinders/tanks in the same duration. However, it also said that these oxygen cylinders were procured in July 2020.

“The basic point behind the RTI query was to assess the preparedness of the Delhi government after the first wave of the pandemic lashed the national capital last year. But the reply suggested that the Arvind Kejriwal government had no plans in place to counter any possible second wave of Covid-19,” said Pandey.

On Sunday, the national capital reported 20,394 fresh Covid-19 cases and 407 deaths in a 24-hour period. Recently, chief minister Kejriwal extended the lockdown already in force in Delhi till May 10.

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