An RTI reply dated April 08 has revealed that the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government has spent Rs 150 crores from January 2021 to March 2021 on advertisements and publicity through various mediums.
The RTI reply uploaded by a Twitter user Alok Bhatt revealed Rs 32.52 crores were spent on ads by the AAP government in January 2021, Rs 25.33 crores were spent in February 2021 and a whopping Rs 92.48 crores were spent in March 2021. This averages to Rs 1.67 crore daily when the health infrastructure in the national capital had begun to crumble amid the second wave of coronavirus.
The reply specifies that the total expenditure includes advertisements and publicity through print media, electronic media as well as the internet.
Further, Kejriwal government has spent over 800 crores in advertisement expenses in past two years.
Arvind Kejriwal was heavily criticized for advertising and promoting the apparent achievements of the AAP government through YouTube ads in April.
It is imperative to note that hospitals in Delhi-NCR regions are facing a scarcity of medicinal oxygen. The hospitals had to momentarily stop admitting new patients while asking existing ones to leave.
Damage control by Delhi government
In hindsight, after realizing the damage caused by the new wave of Covid-19, the Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal started appealing to the Chief Ministers of other states to provide them with oxygen if they have anything to spare. This is after the CM had promised home delivery of oxygen in August last year.
In an attempt to do some damage control and sound innocent, Kejriwal illegally aired his speech during a private meeting of the PM with the Chief Ministers of all states and UTs where he was seen requesting with folded hands for oxygen supply to Delhi through railways and air. Much to his dismay, the Centre was already in action. Kejriwal was not only reprimanded for the breach of trust but was also informed about the actions being taken to ensure an uninterrupted supply of oxygen by the Prime Minister himself.
Court pulls up Delhi government for its shoddy management
The Delhi High Court on Saturday pulled up the Delhi government and remarked that the government had utterly failed in creating a mechanism to ensure the smooth supply of oxygen.
It was also informed that the Delhi Government was not taking any steps to collect the oxygen allocated to them. The Court had said, “Every state is arranging its own tankers, if you’re not having your own tanks, arrange them. You will have to do it, get in touch with the Central govt officers. We are not here to facilitate contact between officers.”
An officer with the central government had remarked, “All other States are collaborating for tankers, railway. For Delhi, it’s like they are to be served on the platter. We are helping States. Delhi officers need to do that.” Thus, it reveals that the oxygen crisis in Delhi is more due to the AAP Government’s failure to set up a mechanism to ensure the smooth supply of oxygen to hospitals.
Non-utilization of PM Cares Funds
While Arvind Kejriwal continues to play politics over the crisis by releasing ads or folding his hands in closed-door meetings, Union Health Ministry informed the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that the central government had sanctioned funds from PM CARES Fund to Kejriwal Government in December 2020 to set up eight PSA (Pressure Swing Absorption) oxygen plants in Delhi.
However, since December, only one such plant has been set up by the Kejriwal govt.
Delhi government forced to swing into action
After being pulled up by the Courts, a Delhi government source has now informed that eight pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants are being installed in Delhi with the support of PM Cares Fund. One plant at a Burari hospital has been installed and the other four are expected to be installed by April 30.