A Covid-19 patient breathes with the help of oxygen provided by a Gurdwara in Ghaziabad. (AFP)
A Covid-19 patient breathes with the help of oxygen provided by a Gurdwara in Ghaziabad. (AFP)

Centre's oxygen allocation 'arbitrary', Delhi tells Supreme Court

As the Supreme Court on Thursday heard issues of oxygen delivery in Delhi, buffer stock, oxygen audit, Justice DY Chandrachud said according to experts, children might be affected in the third phase of the pandemic.
By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Poulomi Ghosh
PUBLISHED ON MAY 06, 2021 02:01 PM IST

A Supreme Court bench, led by Justice DY Chandrachud, on Thursday asked the Centre its plan of action for the third surge of the pandemic, which the government on Wednesday said is inevitable. The bench as solicitor general Tushar Mehta to explain how prepared the Centre is to deal with the third wave of the pandemic.

Justice Chandrachud said in the impending third wave, children might be affected and when a child goes to a hospital, his parents will also go. So, the vaccination of this group of people needs to be over by that time, Justice Chandrachud said.

During the hearing which pertains to oxygen supply to Delhi, Mehta said to allot 700 metric tonne of oxygen to Delhi, the allotment for other states has to be interfered with.

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Most of the hospitals that are raising SOS for oxygen now were not Covid hospitals and so they did not have tanks, Mehta said, adding that the capacity to hold oxygen in a cylinder is 12 hours and as many hospitals only had tanks, SOS messages were raised.

As Mehta said that now the Centre will be answerable for taking oxygen from elsewhere and rerouting it to Delhi, Justice Chandrachud said the formula needs a relook as it has grossly underestimated Delhi's requirement.

Advocate Rahul Mehra said it is wrong for the Centre to say that other states will suffer from additional oxygen supply to Delhi as according to Centre's affidavit, the additional 210 metric tonne of oxygen is less than 1 per cent of what they have. People in Delhi are dying and the Centre shouldn't be allowed to reduce the supply, Mehra said.

Terming Centre's oxygen allocation to states arbitrary, Mehra said if an audit is required, then it is required to examine these allocations and the tankers.

Tushar Mehta said the Centre can not only be concerned with Delhi. "People have given mandate to this government twice. People are in the heart. But we can not be concerned only about Delhi. Our concern is that there has to be mechanism in place for propoer allocation and distribution."

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