The Delhi government is getting cooperation from the Centre in its efforts to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said in an interview with NDTV. He said the national capital needs financial help as sources of revenue have dried up because of suppressed business activity and he is hopeful that the central government will provide the required aid.
"We have been getting cooperation from the Centre. We need financial support. We believe that since the Centre has been cooperating on other things, we will get support in this aspect as well. Businesses have not been able to run so where will we get tax from? We will need tax support too, and I am hoping we will get that," he said.
On the difference of opinion between Centre and the Delhi government on a host of issues, Mr Sisodia said Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will do all it takes for the people of the national capital.
"Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has been striving to do what it takes for people of Delhi. If we need to bow down before the Centre, we will; if we have to oppose their policies, we will. If it is required, we will fold hands before social service outfits. We have worked in coordination with all – that is why the number (coronavirus) is less than anticipated," he said.
He said it is because Mr Kejriwal's inclusive policy, Delhi is getting help from all quarters.
"Today we have railway coaches (for isolation beds) as well, we have Radha Soami (spiritual centre-turned COVID facility); we have received cooperation from the Centre and social service organisations. If we are presently at a stable condition, it is because of the Chief Minister's inclusive strategy and policy," he said.
Responding to Union Home Minister Amit Shah's accusation that Mr Sisodia's remark saying Delhi will have over 5.5 lakh cases by July-end triggered fear, he said the national capital is better prepared because of the projection, which was taken from a central government website.
"We had taken this data from the Centre's website for projections. I don't think it was wrong…To tell the public our present situation and where we can reach, I think, can be beneficial," he said.
"In this projection it was said that there will be one lakh cases by June 30. It is good that we have only 85,000 cases. It was said that active cases will be between 45-50,000; we currently have 26,000. It had said we would need 15,000 beds- currently there are patients on 6,000 beds and 9,000 beds are vacant. We are in a comfort level - if the cases increase, we are ready" he added.
Mr Sisodia said Delhi hospitals currently have over 200 vacant ventilator beds and the government is trying to increase the number to deal with any eventuality.
With 87,360 coronavirus cases and 2,742 deaths, Delhi is the third worst-hit state in the country after Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.