The Municipal Corporation of Delhi on Thursday claimed that it had cremated 2,089 Covid-19 patients in the Capital till June 10, a number much higher than the official toll released by the Arvind-Kejriwal led government on the same day, ANI reported. All three municipal corporations in Delhi are ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s Standing Committee Chairperson Jai Prakash told ANI that 2,089 coronavirus patients were cremated collectively by the North, South and East divisions. “All these people were coronavirus-positive,” he said. “We had given a separate figure for suspected patients, which is around 200.”
In its bulletin from Thursday, the Delhi government’s toll stood at 1,085 – a number still lower than that of the civic body.
Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Friday asked the municipal corporations to share the details with the government. “Why don’t they send those details to us?” he asked, according to ANI. “Names, age and reports... all details are needed. Ask them for a list of these numbers along with the [Covid-19] positive reports of those people.”
Earlier, the Delhi government said it had set up a Death Audit Committee of senior doctors, reported The Indian Express. “The Hon’ble Delhi High Court has also declared that the Death Audit Committee is working in an appropriate manner and that the work of the committee cannot be questioned,” it had said in a statement.
Aam Aadmi Party leader Sanjay Singh also said that the Delhi High Court had clearly stated that it had no doubts about the expertise of the Death Audit Committee and the figure provided by them, according to ANI. “If the BJP thinks they are above courts and want to play politics, I can’t say anything,” he added.
South MCD standing committee head Bhupendar Gupta they were ready to present data before a nodal officer appointed either by the Delhi government or the lieutenant governor. “I don’t know which audit committee report Delhi government is basing its figures on,” he added.
In April, the Delhi government had formed the Death Audit Committee to inspect every Covid-19 death on a daily basis. Public and private hospitals were directed to provide details of deaths to the committee.
Prakash, however, said the discrepancy in the toll was first noticed in May. “On May 16, the Delhi government issued a notice to all three municipal corporations, saying that the numbers were not matching and asked us to verify them,” he added. “We replied to the notice on May 17 and submitted a report after verifying all the figures. In that report too, there was a difference of over 230 confirmed cases and nearly 100 suspected cases. Our figure has been double the Delhi government’s since May and they are still not acting on it.”
Amid the escalating health crisis in the Capital, the discord between the Delhi government and hospitals is also growing. Last month, the state government had admitted to discrepancies in the toll but blamed the hospitals for not reporting the deaths on time.