Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar was replying to questions on the alleged under-reporting of deaths due to coronavirus — at many places the scenes at crematoriums and burial grounds do not reflect the official numbers.
“The kind of difficult situation we are going through, we don't have to play with data. Our entire focus should be on how people will recover and how we can provide them relief,” he told reporters here on Monday.
“And those who have died will not come back by creating a furore over it,” he said at one point, arguing that there was no point in getting into a debate on whether the official number of deaths was correct.
Opposition slams CM
The opposition Congress was quick to slam his remarks with party general secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala saying, 'These can only be the words of a merciless ruler.” “There is a need to make a noise over every death which is the result of the government's inefficiency, so that the deaf BJP government can hear the echo,' he said.
Adampur MLA Kuldeep Bishnoi also condemned the CM’s comment.
“These remarks are shameful. I strongly condemn the thinking of the chief minister,” the Congress leader tweeted.
Khattar had visited Rohtak, Panipat, Hisar and Faridabad to review the supply of oxygen and other facilities for COVID patients.
“We will do everything possible so that lives are saved. Whether the deaths are less or more, there is no point getting into this debate,” he said.
“Whether we are able to set the systems right is the question. From our side, we are setting the systems in place,” he added.
Khattar said nobody had expected this kind of a situation.
“Who knew this pandemic will come, neither you knew nor we. To fight this, we need everyone's cooperation including yours, mine, the patients'. Therefore, these issues should not be the topic of any controversy.” The CM was asked to comment on the PGIMS hospital in Rohtak briefly stopping admission to new COVID-19 patients on Sunday night after facing a 'shortage' of medical oxygen.
He said that oxygen pressure in the government facility had dipped and if they had started taking more patients they would not have been able to take care of those already admitted.
Khattar said things were quickly sorted out and the admissions restarted on Monday.
Haryana on Monday recorded its biggest single-day jump in COVID-related fatalities with 75 deaths, and reported yet another big rise in infections with 11,504 new cases.
The state has over 80,000 active cases after a coronavirus surge in April.
The demand for medical oxygen has also risen several-fold in recent days, and deaths due to its alleged shortage taken place in Hisar, Rewari and Gurgaon.
The state government had ordered probes in these cases.
With inputs from PTI