Maharashtra: 10 Covid patients die, VVMC denies oxygen shortage

Palghar, April 13 In a shocking tragedy on Gudi Padva, at least 10 Covid-19 patients have died in two private hospital in the Vasai town due to alleged shortage of medical oxygen, here on Tuesday.

While confirming the fatalities that occurred at the Vinayak Hospital and Riddhi Vinayak Hospital, the Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation (VVMC) refuted allegations about the shortage of medical oxygen supply in the civic body jurisdiction.

A Medical Health Department statement said that the Vinayak Hospital, where seven comorbid patients died on Monday, had procured 139 jumbo cylinders each with 7,000-litres oxygen, and one Dura cylinder or equivalent to 28 jumbo cylinders, the previous day (April 11).

Similarly, the Riddhi Vinayak Hospital, where three patients lost their lives, had procured a total of 110 jumbo cylinders over Sunday-Monday, and accordingly, both hospitals had sufficient stocks of medical oxygen for all their patients.

Additionally, the VVMC had also procured 10 tonnes of medical oxygen to cater to all the eight private Covid hospitals in its jurisdiction and so there was no question of any patient dying due to lack of oxygen, the VVMC maintained.

Earlier this morning, crying relatives of the deceased and some local politicians alleged that the 10 patients may have succumbed to the alleged scarcity of oxygen.

There are over 7,000 'active cases' in Vasai, of which at least 3,000-odd need regular oxygen facilities.

This morning the leading tertiary health care centre, Vinayaka Hospital, Nala Sopara, rejected the contentions and said that all patients who died were serious comorbids but there were sufficient stocks of oxygen available in the hospital.

Nala Sopara MLA Kshitij Thakur drew the attention of PM Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray to the development and appealed for help in the matter.

"There is an acute shortage of oxygen in the Vasai taluka. Notably, the supply can run for only three hours. Unfortunately, three lives have already been lost due to no oxygen supply in our area. I request to look into this serious matter and provide ample oxygen supply to the tehsil. This will prevent any more loss of lives," Thakur urged.

He also appealed to CM Thackeray, Deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Health Minister Rajesh Tope to intervene in the matter.

Bharatiya Janata Party's Leader of Opposition Pravin Darekar and ex-MP Kirit Somaiya slammed the ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government for the deaths.

"The government must take serious note...It seems to focus only on lockdown... But we also need oxygen beds, ICU beds, ventilators, Remdesivir, etc," Darekar said, adding this was not an auspicious development on Gudi Padwa.

Since the past few days, the ruling Shiv Sena-Nationalist Congress Party-Party-Congress have been demanding sufficient stocks of Covid essentials like Vaccines, oxygen, Remdevisir, PPE kits, N95 masks, ventilators in tune with the highest number of Corona patients and deaths.

On Monday, the state notched a milestone of administered 10,19,2353 jabs of the Covid vaccine to people, the highest in the country.