Govt records contradict own claims on ‘effective’ distribution of foreign COVID-19 aid -Shreegireesh Jalihal
The Union government has been blamed for sitting on a pile of essential medical tools such as ventilators and oxygen concentrators while daily thousands of COVID-19 patients hustled for oxygen cylinders and hundreds died gasping for breath.
Days after the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) stated that COVID-19 relief aid was being distributed effectively in response to concerns raised by media reports, The Reporters’ Collective has found that the government’s own records contradict that claim. In fact, it takes more than a special cell comprising at least 10 top-level government officials to clear out foreign COVID-19 aid from 28 countries piling up at airports since April 25. A review of the ‘restricted’ internal government database on COVID-19 aid shows India received 57,69,442 medical items till May 4 out of which 3,05,721 items were yet to be allocated as on May 6 – the day the database was last updated.
The aid received from Kuwait on May 4, for example, had not been allocated until the last update. Kuwait aid alone accounts for 3,02,514 units. This was the status two days after the Health Ministry publicly stressed it has ensured effective distribution of foreign COVID-19 aid. The database gives the details of consignments allocated, which have not been made public by the Ministry of External Affairs.
Until May 6, of the 57 lakh-plus items received, 23,62,538 were shown as ‘on the way’ to destination, including items received as early as April 30. One such early consignment took days to reach Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) from Palam airport where it landed – roughly 10 km away.
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TheNewsMinute.com, 14 May, 2021, https://www.thenewsminute.com/article/govt-records-contradict-own-claims-effective-distribution-foreign-covid-19-aid-148831