'Ensure compliance with MHA order on oxygen supply': Delhi high court tells Centre

Reported by Richa Banka | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Apr 22, 2021 03:26 PM IST

Many hospitals treating Covid-19 patients in Delhi have said that their oxygen stock has reached critical levels. The high court has been asked to direct the Centre and Delhi government to ensure proper supply of medical oxygen.

More hospitals in Delhi moved the high court on Thursday, pleading the replenishment of oxygen so that they can continue providing care to coronavirus disease (Covid-19) patients. The fresh one to approach the high court is Saroj Super Specialty in Rohini.

Workers refill cylinders with medical oxygen for supply to hospital for Covid-19 patients.(PTI Photo)
Workers refill cylinders with medical oxygen for supply to hospital for Covid-19 patients.(PTI Photo)

The bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli heard a fresh matter by Saroj after a plea from Max Healthcare on Wednesday. It once again asked the Centre what steps have been taken to ensure proper oxygen supply to hospitals.

Also Watch: ‘Not a comfortable situation’, Delhi minister Satyendar Jain on oxygen crisis

The Delhi govt told the court that oxygen plants in Durgapur, Rourkela and Kalinganagar (in Odisha) have been asked to deliver oxygen to hospitals in Delhi. "The intention is there, but the plants are at far off places making it difficult for them to bring oxygen. It will take two days," said senior advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government.

The judges then suggested getting the oxygen from nearby plants, saying the some states are not letting the supply of the allocated amount of oxygen. "That is something you have to handle," said the court.

"What is the use of allocation if it is not going and reaching from where it is required?" said the judges.

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, who represented the Centre, assured that the requirement for oxygen will be met, and said this is not the time for A government versus B government.

The high court directed the Centre to ensure strict compliance of the allocation order issued by the Union home ministry on Thursday, and its own order on April 21.

"We also direct all the authorities to ensure the strict compliance of the order. We want to make it clear that this order is implemented immediately and action would be taken against the non-compliance," said the bench.

"We direct that all the oxygen as per the allocating order, to ensure that adequate security is provided to the lorries transporting oxygen and there is no obstruction is created. Special corridor may be created," it further said.

The high court's direction came after a home ministry official joined the hearing. The official informed the court that the MHA is continuously in touch with nodal officer of Delhi for smooth supply of oxygen to hospitals.

The home ministry on Thursday sent an order to all the states saying that there shall be no restriction on the movement of medical oxygen and stressed that the supply cannot be limited to any particular state.

Meanwhile, the Saroj Hospital received oxygen supply after running on backup cylinders for 4.5 hours. The hospital had to discharge patients and stop new admissions.

In its petition, the hospital sought direction to the Centre, Delhi government and Inox, which supplies oxygen to hospitals in Delhi, to immediately supply 3000 cubic metres of oxygen and continue the same on a daily basis during the current Covid-19 wave.

While haring Max's plea on Wednesday, the high court directed the Centre to beg, borrow or steal or do whatever to supply medical oxygen to hospitals for treatment of Covid-19 patients.

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