Uttar Pradesh: CM Ajay Mohan Bisht Authorises NSA Usage on Those "Spreading Rumours" of Oxygen Shortage in State
By: Aashruti Vohra
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Ajay Kumar Bisht has instructed officials to take action under the National Security Act and seize the property of the individuals guilty of “escalating rumours on social media” and “trying to spoil the atmosphere.” He added that there is no shortage of Oxygen in his state and that the gas is being “black marketed and stockpiled up by few.”
The Hindu reports that he made these statements at an online interaction with journalists from select outlets. In an interview to the Chennai-based paper, Bisht referred to a two-day-old incident when some private hospitals had informed him of oxygen unavailability but when checked it was found that the institutes had sufficient oxygen stored. “Due to such people, fear is increasing among the public. Even those who don’t need it, are worried about oxygen cylinders,” he concluded.
The state police have been intimated by the government. Recently, they launched a campaign against people implicated in the hoarding and black marketing of oxygen and essential medicines such as the life-saving drug Remdesivir, which is reportedly being sold unlicensed for as high as ₹32,000 per shot.
Prashant Kumar, the ADG of Law and Order of Uttar Pradesh Government, stated that people were gossiping and making unnecessary comments on social media and repeatedly encompassing such false alarms. “It appears like there is an attempt to tarnish the image of the government,” he said in a video statement. As per reports, the UP government has arrested 42 people and recovered 239 oxygen cylinders and 688 vials of Remdesivir to date.
On April 21, Bisht issued another order. This one prohibited the supply of oxygen to individuals, “except for those in serious conditions.” In order to curb the hoarding of oxygen cylinders, the UP government made a prescription mandatory for buying oxygen or refilling cylinders. However, there have been multiple reports over the shortage of COVID beds or patients being turned away by hospitals for COVID treatment in the state.
Uttar Pradesh has reported 35,311 cases between Saturday and Sunday along with 206 deaths, according to the Union health ministry’s statistics.
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