Supreme Court asks Centre to rectify Delhi oxygen issue by Monday night
The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to rectify the oxygen issue of Delhi hospitals within two days, on or before the midnight of May 3, 2021. In the order, released late on Sunday night, the bench of Justices DY Chandrachud, L Nageswara Rao and Ravindra Bharat ordered the Centre to create a buffer stock of oxygen along with all states from where oxygen can be used if the regular supply chain is disrupted due to any reason.
The order was reserved on April 30, when the apex court raised several questions regarding the Centre's handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We direct the Central Government in collaboration with the states to prepare a buffer stock of oxygen to be used for emergency purposes to ensure supply lines continue to function even in unforeseen circumstances. The location of the emergency stocks shall be decentralised so as to be immediately available if the normal supply chain is disrupted to any hospital for any reason. The emergency stocks shall be created within the next four days. The replenishment of the emergency stocks will also be monitored on a real-time basis through the virtual control room in active consultation with each state/UT," notes the Supreme Court order.
During the hearing on April 30, the Supreme Court also asked the Centre whether there is any national policy on hospital admission. In its order issued on Sunday, the Apex Court asked the Centre to formulate a national policy on hospital admission, which has to be followed by state governments.
"Till the formulation of such a policy by the Central Government, no patient shall be denied hospitalization or essential drugs in any State/UT for lack of local residential proof of that State/UT or even in the absence of identity proof," reads the order.
On Saturday, around 12 people, including a doctor, died at a private hospital in Delhi after the hospital ran out of oxygen. With the number of Covid-19 infections rising, the demand for oxygen has sharply gone up. But the situation in the Capital is particularly more precarious.