New Delhi: Amid a crippling shortage of oxygen in the national capital to treat COVID-19 patients, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre for failing to raise the oxygen quota of the city.
“You can put your head in the sand like an ostrich, we will not. We see grim reality everyday of people not able to secure oxygen or ICU beds in hospitals which have reduced beds due to gas shortage,” the court told the Centre in a sharp remark over the oxygen crisis in Delhi.
The high court, while hearing petitions on COVID-19 related issues, including the oxygen crisis that Delhi is grappling with, rejected the Centre’s submission that the national capital was not entitled to 700 MT of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure.
“We fail to understand what good a compliance affidavit would be when as a matter of fact 700 MT oxygen is not delivered, even earlier quantity of 490 MT oxygen is not delivered for a single day. The Supreme Court’s April 30 order shows it directed the Centre to provide 700 MT of oxygen and not just 490 MT to Delhi. There is SC order, now we also say Centre will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away by whatever means,” the court said.
The court also directed the Centre to show cause as to why contempt not be initiated against it for failing to comply with the order on supply of oxygen to Delhi.
The Centre had on Monday assured the HC that it will honour the directions of the Supreme Court to ensure the deficit in oxygen supply to the national capital is rectified before the midnight of May 3, to the best of its ability.
AAP MLA Raghav Chadha earlier today said that 41 hospitals, with 7,142 people on oxygen support, sent SOS calls to the Delhi government about depleting supplies of oxygen on May 3.
Chadha also said that Delhi received an average of 393 MT of oxygen a day last week against the requirement of 976 MT. He said the city got 433 MT of oxygen, just 44 per cent of the total requirement, on Monday.