Chikungunya deaths: Centre seeks report from Delhi govt

RSTV Bureau
New Delhi: Patients suffering from fever on the stretchers at RML hospital in New Delhi, September 13, 2016. Photo - PTI

New Delhi: Patients suffering from fever on the stretchers at RML hospital in New Delhi, September 13, 2016.
Photo – PTI

Union Health Ministry has sought a detailed report from Delhi government regarding deaths of patients suffering from chikungunya. Thus far, ten people have died due to the disease in the national capital. The issue has also triggered a political tiff with Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying his government is “powerless” to deal with the situation.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues particularly came in for criticism for being away from the city.

Countering criticism on the micro-blogging site Twitter as he faced questions over the alarming health situation in Delhi, Kejriwal wrote, “CM n min left wid no power now, even to buy a pen. LG n PM enjoy all powers wrt Del. LG abroad.Question them for Del”.

Kejriwal has been touring poll-bound Punjab and is now in Bengaluru for his treatment where he will stay for next 10 days. Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain was till Tuesday in Goa, while Deputy CM Manish Sisodia is in Finland to study its education system for about two-three days and two other ministers – Gopal Rai and Imran Hussain – are also out of the city.

Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung too is in the United States for 10 days.

FILE: Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal. Photo - PTI

FILE: Delhi Chief Minister and AAP Convener Arvind Kejriwal.
Photo – PTI

With criticism rising, Jain rushed back to Delhi addressing a hurriedly arranged press conference. Later in the evening, Delhi government ordered a probe into the chikungunya deaths reported in the national capital in the last two days.

“4 Deaths due to Chikungunya reported from one pvt hospital (Ganga Ram). No death in any Delhi govt hospital. Enquiry ordered,” Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain tweeted on Tuesday night.

But the Kejriwal-run government couldn’t escape the flak. Former CM and senior Congress leader Sheila Dikshit hit out at Kejriwal and his cabinet colleagues for “touring other states while Delhi is reeling under chikungunya”.

“As far as I know, all the ministers are out of Delhi. It is the responsibility of the government…More than negligence, it is a matter of playing with the lives of people,” Dikshit said.

BJP too flayed Delhi government, even asking Kejriwal to put in his papers.

“If you do not have the capacity to even buy a piece of pen as you are suggesting, why don’t you resign. If you say that you have no role as the Chief Minister of Delhi, why the paraphernalia of a chief minister’s office, ministers and crores of rupees being spent on MLAs and Chief Minister. The issue is resign,” BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said.

Delhi has been witnessing a tiff between Centre and the state government over the issue of power equation. Though, the Delhi High Court has settled the equation of power in its verdict clearly stating that LG is an administrative head of Delhi, the ruling AAP has now taken up the battle in the Supreme Court.

All this while, Kejriwal and his cabinet faced criticism of ignoring important civic issue concerning the residents of Delhi.