Wholesale supplier unload medical oxygen cylinders from a truck that are to be transported to hospitals amid Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic in Delhi. (Photo: Anindya Chattopadhyay)
NEW DELHI: Delhi government said on Saturday that Delhi High Court pulled up the Centre and asked it to immediately examine re-allocating Delhi’s quota of oxygen from nearby plants.
Many hospitals in Delhi are facing acute oxygen crisis due to shortage of supply, which has caused a face-off between the AAP government and the Centre.
The high court on Saturday heard a hospital’s petition over shortage of oxygen for critical Covid patients.
During the proceedings, Delhi government stated that as against 480 MT of oxygen allocated, only 309 MT was received by Delhi on April 23, which was the main cause behind the crisis in Delhi’s hospitals. The government also stated that in the revised allocation plan devised by the central government, 102 MT of supply for Delhi has been allocated to plants located far away in Odisha and West Bengal.
“This was done without the Centre making any corresponding arrangement for tankers to supply this oxygen or any consultative process with Delhi government,” the government said in a statement.
“Taking this into account, the high court pulled up the SG and directed him to ask the empowered group of the central government to re-examine this plan and to ensure plants closer to Delhi are allocated so that same tankers can make higher number of trips.”
In the allocation plan for Delhi before April 21, one of the suppliers, INOX, was allotted 140 MT from its plants nearby Delhi. Earlier, on some days, INOX supplied even more than 140 MT. “However, in the revised plan issued by the central government on April 21, supply from INOX from nearby plants was suddenly curtailed to 100 MT, whereas faraway plants that are in no position to supply to Delhi were assigned over 100 MT,” the government stated.
Delhi government said that the Centre threw its hands up when asked why adequate cryogenic tankers have not been arranged for supply of oxygen from faraway plants. The government submitted that as on date, there is a vast shortage of cryogenic tankers across the country and the Centre is best placed to allocate adequate capacity to each state or if required import more tankers. “Being a non-industrial state, Delhi does not have a ready fleet of cryogenic tankers like many other industrial states. To this, central officials once again evaded any kind of responsibility and said that some states are taking care of their tanker requirements and therefore, Delhi should also do so,” the government said.
“The high court directed the Centre to work closely with Delhi government and use any means possible to arrange an adequate number of cryogenic tankers. Delhi government assured the court that it will work collaboratively with Centre to press more cryogenic tankers into service, even as it continues to demand the Centre to re-allocate its quota to nearby plants generating medical oxygen,” the government stated.
A government source said that to enhance the availability of oxygen, eight pressure swing adsorption oxygen plants were being installed in Delhi.