Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender on Sunday hit out at the Centre and said that the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government did not offer adequate support to the state to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
Donning a Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) scarf, Eatala referred to guidelines of the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and asked, "How many times has your ICMR changed guidelines? Even then, we are following them completely."
"We asked for 1,000 ventilators but you have given us only 50 like they're 'alms'. We had ordered for a machine which can do 450 to 500 tests a day and it reached Chennai on June 6. ICMR diverted that to Kolkata, saying it had orders from the Prime Ministerâ€™s Office," he further said, addressing the media on Sunday.
Eatala also said that he took up the issue with the Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who said that it was diverted as the machine was needed in West Bengal.
Stating that asymptomatic patients were under home quarantine, Eatala said that there were enough beds free in the government-run hospitals of Telangana at present and assured that the state government was ready to tackle any situation.
"You (Centre) did not give us proper facilities and financial help but our state government has managed. We have the capacity," Eatala said.
The Telangana government has not released any data on how many COVID-19 patients currently require ventilator care.
Pointing out that Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was the first to demand a ban on international flights and demand interstate movement restrictions besides implementing the lockdown, he also lashed out at the leaders of the Telangana BJP and said that they only were interested in doing 'politics over dead bodies'.
He also defended the Telangana government's decision to stop testing dead bodies for COVID-19.
The Supreme Court had stayed an order by the Telangana High Court to test all dead bodies in the state for the coronavirus, following which the TRS government had moved the apex court.
Under attack from the opposition for its low testing figures, the TRS had earlier blamed the relaxations given by the Centre for the surge in cases.
"The BJP leaders, who are shouting that the state government has failed in containing the spread of coronavirus, should go and ask Prime Minister Narendra Modi why relaxations were being given," Telangana minister Srinivas Yadav said on Saturday.
The state has so far conducted 53,757 cases which critics say is low compared to many other states with roughly the same population.
At present, the state has reported 7,072 cases of COVID-19, of which 3,363 people are undergoing treatment presently while 3,506 people have been discharged.