Pradeep Pattanayak

The alleged discrepancy between the numbers of Covid death data shown by the State and the Centre has now put Odisha government in the real dock, providing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) a peg to hang its attack on the government. 

According to the State Covid dashboard, the pandemic has so far claimed a total of 9,126 lives. Proving it wrong, the Medical Certificate of Cause of Death (MCCD)-2020 report of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has stated a minimum of 8,711 people lost their lives to Covid-19 in the first wave itself which is around 4.5 percent more as compared to the toll stated by Odisha government in the first wave which is 1876. 

The MCCD report says, a total of 3,62,982 deaths were registered in the State in 2020. Of them, 2.4 percent or 8,711 deaths were marked as Codes for Special Purposes or Covid-19. 

Meanwhile, targeting the State government, the BJP alleged the State government has concealed the Covid-19 death number to hide its failure in Covid management and lap up appreciations. 

“To pretend it that the State’s Covid-related deaths were far below than those of other states, the State government had concealed the real death number. The MCCD report and the ordeal experienced by the people at that time have laid it bare that the State government had completely failed in managing the Covid-19 situation,” said BJP General secretary Prithviraj Harichandan. 

On the other hand, the Congress hit out at both the State and Central governments for failing in managing the pandemic situation. 

“We had seen hundreds of funeral pyres were continuously burning at Sati Chaura and Satya Nagar crematorium in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar respectively. At that time, the government was showing the toll at four or five every day. The State government had then hidden the actual deaths to earn plaudit for managing Covid-19 situation,” said Congress MLA Md Moquim. 

However, Director of Public Health, Dr Niranjan Mishra termed the allegation as baseless. “We have not suppressed the death figure. I think the difference has occurred because of the changes in the definition of the cause of death,” said Dr Mishra.  

In this regard, no reaction from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has been received as yet. 

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