Cargoes amounting to 300 tons of Covid-prevention items arrived via 25 flights in Delhi's international airport over the last five days, including 5,500 oxygen concentrates, 3,200 oxygen cylinders, over a lakh of injection doses of the much sought-after Remdesivir. When it transpires that all this is lying piled up in airport's warehouse even after so many days, it cannot be called inefficiency but atrocity. Although state governments of Delhi, Punjab, Tami Nadu, Bihar andn Odisha knocked on the Centre's doors, the government was not prepared to spare even a portion of them. Even in hospitals within close distance of the airport, patients have died in the last few days due to oxygen shortage; which means the corona virus is not the sole killer. In addition to aid materials that arrived Delhi airport from countries including the UK, US, Ireland and Uzbekistan, 20 metric tons of liquid oxygen arrived in Mundra port in Gujarat from the UAE. 450 oxygen cylinders were offloaded from the UK in Chennai airport. A stream of humanitarian aid has landed from Qatar, Kuwait and Italy. But all this of what avail when the central government, apparently unmoved by humanitarian concern, failed to act in time to deliver them to those in need in the country, leaving them to die.
If the international community holds India close by supplying life-saving equipment and holds a lamp high from atop the world's largest tower to declare solidarity, it is not to say kudos to the merit of the central government. They do it more out of respect for the stances taken by predecessors of India's government and as a gesture of appreciation of the Indian expatriate community's contributions in building their country. But every Indian has a right to know where and to whom the aid so received has been delivered. But, the government is hiding all facts, just as in the case of PM-CARES fund.
The media community, as much as the judicial machinery, has the obligation to challenge all this neglect and callousness and to do its bit towards providing breathing air to the gasping people. But the media let the people down like the central regime. But the media let the people down like the central regime. Even amidst the mass deaths happening, the media were with the efforts to fatten the coffers of tycoons dear to the prime minister, by accounting the oxygen allocated by the Saudi Arabian government to his credit. They became incapable of asking what happened to that stream of aid. Those engaged in philanthropic and voluntary medical aid tearfully bemoan about the bureaucratic knots involved in getting released the cylinders and medicines that arrive from abroad. The authorities were reportedly asking for the value of the imported equipment to be declared. One can only wonder who could tell them that the price involved was nothing but the lives of the people of the country.