Farooq raises issue of oxygen shortage in Jammu hospitals

National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah on Monday expressed grave concern over the shortage of oxygen in Jammu hospitals, saying the situation is reportedly quite worrisome particularly in the wake of alarming spike in COVID 19 cases during the past one week.

Responding to the Union Health Minister during Zero Hour in Parliament on the opening day of the monsoon session, Dr Farooq said, “As per media reports, the situation in Jammu hospitals is worrisome. Reportedly hospitals managing COVID 19 cases are facing acute shortage of oxygen thereby putting the lives of critical corona virus patients at risk. It is distressing to know that nothing substantial is being done to alleviate the problem.”

Dr Farooq Abdullah also raised the issue of dysfunctional 60 ventilators that are meant to provide life support to critically ill patients and called for immediate necessary measures to strengthen the healthcare support system to meet the challenge of pandemic.

Farooq Abdullah attended the Parliament for the first time after a gap of more than a year since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Abdullah was among the various Jammu and Kashmir leaders who were put into pre-emptive detention in the erstwhile state after the Centre on August 5 last year abrogated Article 370 which gave special status to the region.

Abdullah got attention in this session in the backdrop of leaders in Jammu and Kashmir being kept under detention after Jammu and Kashmir’s status was changed. He was welcomed by senior leaders, including Congress’ Shashi Tharoor and Manish Tewari, NCP’s Supriya Sule, DMK’s A. Raja and Muthuvel Karunanidhi Kanimozhi and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) President Asaduddin Owaisi in the Lok Sabha chamber where he was sitting at his designated seat in the second row of opposition benches.

During the debate on the revocation of Article 370 in last year’s Winter Session, several opposition leaders had demanded that Abdullah, a seasoned parliamentarian, be allowed to attend Parliament. Abdullah had then spoken to the media in an emotional interview in Srinagar, and had rejected Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s claim that he was free to move.

Abdullah’s presence is also likely to bring focus back to Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti’s continued detention. While most of the mainstream political leaders from Jammu and Kashmir have been released, including Farooq and his son Omar Abdullah, on March 13 and March 24, 2020, Mufti continues to be held under the Public Safety Act (PSA).