Delhi asks for more oxygen amid acute shortage. CM says supply quota not enough
Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday reiterated that the national capital is facing an oxygen crisis over the past few days and said that the increased quota fixed by Centre a day ago is still not enough to meet the spiralling demands amid a more infectious second wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). Kejriwal appealed to the Centre for more oxygen, pointing out that Delhi does not produce oxygen on its own and hence has to depend on other states for supply.
With several private and government hospitals in Delhi running low on medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients, the Centre on Wednesday had raised the national capital's oxygen quota from 378 metric tonnes to 480 metric tonnes. Drawing attention to these numbers, the Delhi chief minister on Thursday said that the union territory needs 700 tonnes per day, so the increased quota of 480 tonnes/day is still not enough.
"Delhi is facing an oxygen crisis for the past few days. Centre fixes oxygen quota for all states. As per the Delhi government's estimate, the union territory needs 700 tonnes/day, the central government had fixed it to 378 tonnes earlier and increased it to 480 tons yesterday. We need more but we're thankful to them for this," news agency ANI quoted Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal as saying.
The Delhi chief minister further said that in addition to fixing the oxygen quota for several states, the central government also allots companies that will supply oxygen to a particular state. "Delhi doesn't produce oxygen, supply here is done by other states. Some of the governments, in whose states these companies are, had stopped the supply that was to come to Delhi from these companies," he said.
Kejriwal's statements come a day after Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia alleged that an official of the Haryana government had stopped oxygen supply to Delhi from a plant in Faridabad. A similar incident took place in Uttar Pradesh on Tuesday. This led to a crisis in some hospitals, Sisodia had said, adding the oxygen supply was later restored.
Speaking in a similar vein, Delhi CM Kejriwal on this day said, "Governments said that they'll use the oxygen in their states first, use Delhi's quota too and that they'll not let trucks come to Delhi. But I would like to thank the Centre and the Delhi high court for their help. Due to this, oxygen has once again started reaching Delhi." He said that under the increased quota, oxygen is scheduled to come to Delhi from Odisha as well, albeit with some delay. "We are making an effort to see if we can bring oxygen from there by the air route," the chief minister said.
Hospitals in Delhi have been warning that their supplies of medical oxygen given to severely ill Covid-19 patients are running low. Earlier this day, Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said that the current stock of medical oxygen may run out in six to 10 hours, depending on the situation in each hospital.
Delhi logged 24,638 coronavirus cases and 249 deaths on Wednesday, as the positivity rate stood at 31.28% -- meaning almost every third sample turned out to be positive -- amid a growing clamour for oxygen and hospital beds in the city. Only 18 ICU beds for Covid-19 patients were available in hospitals across Delhi at 11 pm, according to government data.