Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. (ANI Photo)
NEW DELHI: With the Covid-ravaged city still in the grip of an oxygen scarcity, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal sent an SOS to all the states requesting them for any spare gas they had. In a letter to the CMs on Saturday, Kejriwal said he would be grateful if the states could provide Delhi with any amount of oxygen, along with tankers, transportation being a major problem behind the shortage. He asked for this request to be treated as an SOS to save the capital.
Meanwhile, Delhi government also decided to increase the number of officers manning the oxygen control room amid complaints from hospitals that the officers weren’t able to respond to all the messages for help. Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia visited the oxygen control room on Friday midnight to take stock.
In the letter to chief ministers, Kejriwal said that while the central government was helping Delhi with regard to the oxygen crisis, the intensity of the pandemic was so severe that the supply was proving inadequate. Therefore, Kejriwal said, “I am writing to all chief ministers requesting them to provide oxygen to Delhi if they have any spare.”
Explaining the reasons for the scarcity, the chief minister wrote, “Delhi does not produce any oxygen. Due to the severe rise in corona cases in the last few days, many hospitals in the national capital have run out of oxygen. Daily supplies of oxygen to Delhi are woefully short of our requirements.” He added, “Therefore, I would be grateful if you could provide us with any oxygen, along with tankers, from your state or any organisation in your state. Kindly treat this as an SOS. I would be personally grateful for your support.”
A Delhi government official explained that there was a vast shortage of cryogenic tankers across the country and since Delhi was a non-industrial state, it did not have a ready fleet of cryogenic tankers, like some states with iron and steel and petrochemical industries.
Kejriwal has been saying that all states should come together to help each other out at this crucial hour. Calling the current coronavirus wave in thee country a collective crisis, he said India would not survive if people split themselves into Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal.
Recently, Delhi government set up a 24×7 control room led by an IAS officer. It also operates a helpdesk manned by a sub-divisional magistrate-level officer and eight other officers to redress the grievances and complaints received from private hospitals and those run by the central and Delhi governments. An official claimed that those manning the control room were “going crazy with the workload”.
After his late-night visit to the control room on Friday, Sisodia tweeted “The team lead by IAS officer Vijay Bidhuri is working hard to respond to all SOS calls from hospitals if their vendor has not met their demand for oxygen or there is urgent need. Every call is an emergency call to save lives.” An official later said that the number of officials manning the control room was increased to ensure they were able to handle the increasing calls for help more quickly.