As the national capital waits for critical Oxygen supply, over 20,000 protesting farmers are moving towards Tikri Border from different parts of Punjab thereby blocking the highways. The protesting Kisan Union ‘Ugrahan’ has given a call to farmers to gather at Tikri Border. This comes on the back of a prominent supplier of Oxygen for hospitals in Delhi stating that its truck was delayed by over two hours as a result of the protest call given by the farmers, this at the Singhu border.
In a letter accessed by Republic, Inox Air Products which is a major supplier and whose trucks have even been seen aboard the ‘Oxygen Express’ has stated that vehicles are travelling over extra 100 kilometres due to the ongoing protests. Following this, BJP leader Amit Malviya took to Twitter and hit out at the protesting farmers for blocking the highways. In addition, he also slammed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal whom he blamed of having assisted the farmers with food supplies. Malviya stated that Kejriwal is assisting the farmers with an aim to contest Punjab assembly elections next year.
“Delhi is choking for oxygen because national highways leading to the city have been blocked by Andolan-Jeevis, leading to suppliers losing precious time. Kejriwal has been feeding these protests with an eye on Punjab elections next year.. Delhi can suffer. Kejriwal doesn’t care.” said Amit Malviya.
Speaking to Republic TV, Malviya also stated that Kejriwal is highlighting his administration’s handling of COVID-19 while assisting the farmers. “Kejriwal should decide whether he wants to save the lives in Delhi or have these blockades because his eyes are set on Punjab elections next year.” added Malviya
Oxygen crisis grips Delhi amid second wave of COVID-19
Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Arvind Kejriwal urged the Centre ‘with folded hands’ to provide medical oxygen to Delhi. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia also added that there will be chaos in the city if oxygen stocks are not replenished by Wednesday morning. Apart from the scarcity of oxygen, ICU beds in the national capital are filling fast amid a massive spike in COVID-19 cases.
“I urge central govt wid folded hands to urgently provide oxygen to Delhi” said Kejriwal
Serious oxygen crisis persists in Delhi. I again urge centre to urgently provide oxygen to Delhi. Some hospitals are left with just a few hours of oxygen.
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) April 20, 2021
Farmers continue agitation amid COVID-19 surge
As farmers continue their agitation, Republic Media Network interviewed several farmers who have been protesting at the Singhu border despite the surge in COVID-19 cases across the country. Some of the protesting farmers denied the threat of Coronavirus and said, “There is no Corona here. There are so many people gathering here, we will make Corona go away. We are no scared of Corona.”
Another protestor asserted that Coronavirus is a fictitious disease created by the government to fearmonger. “If it was true then people would have died in lakhs. Farmers have been at protests for five months, all would have died. Corona is a conspiracy.” While one protestor at Delhi’s Singhu border echoed a similar sentiment when asked about the threat of Coronavirus. “Corona must be in Delhi, not here. It’s been a year since COVID-19 arrived. We are protesting here for five months, not a single case has been found here, how?” asked the protestor who was in his tent, decked up with a television set and other accessories.
Several protestors challenged to get themselves tested if anyone of them has COVID-19, while one of them said he got vaccinated some 25 days back. The protestor said they work in shifts. Some men come to Delhi borders to stay at the protest sites while those who have stayed for quite some time will head back home to Punjab for few days. These shifts usually are for a period of 5-6 days, the protestor said.
On Wednesday, India reported 2,95,041 new cases, 2,023 deaths and 1,67,457 discharges in the last 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry. Here are the numbers in detail:
Total cases: 1,56,16,130
Total recoveries: 1,32,76,039
Death toll: 1,82,553
Active cases: 21,57,538
- Image credit: Republic World/PTI amalgam