Congress leader P. Chidambaram on Monday questioned the Delhi government’s move to reserve government hospitals only for residents of the capital in view of the surge in COVID-19 cases. “Mr. (Arvind) Kejriwal says Delhi hospitals are only for Delhiites. Will he please tell us who is a Delhiite? If I live or work in Delhi, am I a Delhiite?” the former Union finance minister posted on Twitter.
He also wondered if Kejriwal’s announcement is in accordance with the objectives of Aayushman Bharat. “I thought if a person had enrolled in Jan Arogya Yojana/Aayushman Bharat, he can seek treatment in any enlisted hospital, public or private, anywhere in India? Did Mr Kejriwal take legal opinion before he made his announcement?” Chidambaram further questioned the Delhi chief minister.
On Sunday, the Delhi cabinet announced its decision to reserve the government hospitals in the national capital for Delhiites based on the feedback received from the residents of the capital and the opinion given by a five-member committee of senior doctors. The Delhi government hospitals as well as hospitals run by the Central government in the capital have around 10,000 beds in all dedicated to patients of COVID-19. “They believe that the 9,000 beds that are currently with us will be taken over in three days if we allow people from other states to take admission,” Mr Kejriwal said at a virtual press conference on Sunday.
Delhi is the third worst coronavirus-hit state in the country with nearly 29,000 cases. “The issue before us is that corona cases are rising fast in Delhi. We have arranged beds in our hospitals for corona patients. If our hospitals are kept open for people from all over the country, where will the people of Delhi go,” Kejriwal had said about the motive behind his government’s decision.
Kejriwal claimed that the decision was taken after 90 per cent of the people who responded to the CM’s call for suggestions felt that the city’s hospitals should be reserved for Delhiites.