Patients gasp for breath, politicians hold up O2 tanker for photo op | India News – Times of India

INDORE: A tanker carrying 30 tonnes of oxygen from Gujarat arrived in Covid-battered Indore on Saturday night. But while the city was counting its breaths, politicians made a media spectacle of it, holding it up for photo ops at two places before it could start unloading.
This, despite CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s orders that oxygen tankers be given ambulance status and be escorted by police to ensure there is no hold-up. The tanker driver had set off from Jamnagar at 1am, stopping only once for lunch during the 700km journey. “I have not blinked all the way. We are aware of how important oxygen is during Covid times,” driver Shailendra Kushwah told TOI at 11.30pm on Saturday.
He hadn’t expected to run into politicians carrying garlands, balloons and cameramen. The tanker was first stopped at Chandan Nagar Square by BJP workers, led by local president Gaurav Randive. He was soon joined by minister Tulsiram Silawat. A team of mediapersons, informed in advance, took photographs as politicians posed before the tanker and gave speeches. Soon, however, a team of administrative officials, led by collector Manish Singh, arrived and ushered the tanker on its way.
When the tanker arrive at the oxygen plant at MR-10, BJP Lok Sabha MP Shankar Lalwani, and MLAs Ramesh Mendola and Akash Vijayvargiya were there to welcome it. It was decorated with balloons. A priest performed a pooja in the presence of the politicians before the nod was given to pipe off the oxygen.
On being asked about the welcome, driver said, “We are here for the last two hours. It will take us another hour to unload the tanker.”
Congress tore into BJP over this on Sunday. “BJP leaders in Indore celebrated the arrival of just one oxygen tanker while 10 people died in Shahdol due to lack of oxygen. This is the height of shamelessness,” said PCC spokesperson K K Mishra.
BJP, however, claimed there was no delay in the tanker reaching the filling station. “The tanker was stopped only once, for five minutes, on Dhar Road and then it went directly to the filling station,” Gaurav Randive said.

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