New Delhi: Deputy Chief Minister Sisodia on Wednesday (April 21) accused the Haryana government of blocking medical oxygen supply to Delhi. The Haryana government, however, vehemently refuted the allegations, stating that no one in the administration had hampered anything.
Addressing a press conference, Manish Sisodia said the AAP government had been demanding that the Centre increase Delhi’s quota of oxygen from 378 metric tonnes to 700 metric tonnes. Notably, several hospitals in Delhi scrambled to save the lives of coronavirus patients amid its shortage for the second consecutive day.
Reacting to it, Haryana Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan told PTI: “No supply has been stopped to Delhi. This is not true.” Earlier in the day, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij alleged that a tanker carrying medical oxygen for COVID patients in hospitals, which was going from Panipat to Faridabad, was “looted” by the Delhi government and said all oxygen tankers will now move with police escort.
The Central government, which decides the quota of oxygen for states, is yet to take a step in this direction, the deputy chief minister said.
Sisodia said, “We again demand that the Centre increase our oxygen quota to 700 MT in view of the increased consumption. Patients from several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, are admitted in city hospitals,” adding that an official of the Haryana government stopped oxygen supply from a plant in Faridabad.
In a statement, the Delhi government said, “It’s indeed unfortunate that states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are curtailing the supply of life-saving oxygen to Delhi.” It said, “Just as the Haryana government, the Uttar Pradesh government has illegally captured the oxygen production plants, depriving Delhi of oxygen.”
“What’s worse is that they’re indulging in this insensitive act despite clear orders from the high court,” he said, adding that states should get their allotted share of oxygen without others interfering in it.
Several hospitals in Delhi alleged that the Haryana government was not allowing vendors to supply oxygen to them and there was only limited stock left as hundreds of coronavirus patients battled for their lives in these facilities.
The official told PTI, “The vendor, as per its representative, is not being allowed by the Haryana government to supply oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen to Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital, Pusa Road. Supply left is sufficient only for five hours.”
A spokesperson of St Stephen’s Hospital said: “The Haryana government has not been allowing our vendor to supply oxygen to us. Of the 350 patients in the hospital, around 200 are on oxygen support.”
Manipal Hospitals CEO said Pramod Alagharu their supplier was willing to supply oxygen from its Faridabad unit, adding “an officer has taken control over the plant. We have only 12 hrs of supplies left.”
Faridabad Deputy Commissioner Garima Mittal denied the allegations, and told PTI, “There is absolutely nothing like that. Some storage tankers of the company were reaching Faridabad plant from Meerut and once they reach, as usual, they will fill and supply.”
From the Faridabad plant, the supplies go to 32 hospitals, out of which 25 are in Delhi, Vardhan said, adding that the supply would reach in routine.
Delhi reported a record 28,395 coronavirus cases and 277 deaths on Tuesday, with the positivity rate shooting up to 32.82 per cent — meaning every third sample came out positive.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi High Court directed the Centre to “forthwith” provide oxygen by whatever means to the hospitals in the national capital which are treating serious COVID-19 patients and is facing scarcity of oxygen.
The HC said, “Why is the Centre not waking up to the gravity of the situation? We are shocked and dismayed hospitals are running out of oxygen but steel plants are running.”
The High court said heavens are not going to fall if the industries, including steel and petroleum, run on lower capacity till oxygen is imported. It said certainly all hell will break loose with the stoppage of medical oxygen for hospitals.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, which was conducting the hearing on a holiday, said that the responsibility to ensure oxygen supply is squarely on the Centre’s shoulders and if necessary, entire supply of oxygen to industries including steel and petroleum can be diverted for medical usage.
(With Agency Inputs)