Delhi must get at least 700 Metric Tonnes (MT) of life-saving oxygen on a daily basis that will enable the city to fix the scarcity and save the lives of its people, the Supreme Court told the Centre on Thursday, May 5.
A special bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and M.R Shah said that the shortage of oxygen is leading to "tremendous anxiety" in the national capital, reported The Hindu.
Asking the Centre to maintain transparency in the allocation, the bench said that failure to provide the mentioned amount of medical oxygen to Delhi shall be considered as a contempt of court.
"If nothing is to be hidden, let it come before the nation how allocation and distribution is done transparently by the Centre," it said as reported by NDTV.
To this, the Centre retaliated saying that the fatalities in Delhi are not due to an oxygen shortage but because of a serious systematic failure in its distribution. Stating failure on the part of the Kejriwal government, it said that the shortage was 'city's own making.'
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said that there has to be an audit since there is a systemic failure in handling the crisis and the union government cannot be Delhi-centric in its allocation.
Oxygen Crisis In Delhi
Ever since the second wave of COVID-19 started to emerge in India, the national capital has reported receiving a compromising supply of medical oxygen from the Centre. Where the daily requirement of medical oxygen for Delhi is at least 700 MT, it has been receiving almost half of the demand for a long time.
According to an Economic Times report, on Monday, May 3, Delhi's requirement was 976 MT of oxygen whereas it only received an amount of 440 MT which did not even meet its allotted quota of 590 MT.
Reports have highlighted that in view of the increasing demand for medical oxygen and the critical condition of patients, the hospitals in the city have been keeping on raising the alarm.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, in one of his address, pointed towards the surplus supply of oxygen to neighbouring states like Uttar Pradesh and Haryana but the central government's lackadaisical approach towards Delhi
Kejriwal further ensured that if Delhi receives its oxygen demand then there will not be a single death in Delhi on account of oxygen shortage.
"If we get an adequate supply of oxygen - 700 tonnes - we will be able to set up 9,000-9,500 beds in Delhi. I assure you that we will not let anyone die to a shortage of oxygen in Delhi," he said.
Over the past few weeks, there have been several instances of deaths due to a shortage of medical oxygen. People are running pillar to post to arrange for the supplies.
On Saturday, at least 12 patients, including a doctor died for the want of oxygen in Batra Hospital of South Delhi.
Earlier on April 23, as many as 20 patients died in Jaipur Golden Hospital in Rohini, Delhi due to the low oxygen pressure as the oxygen stock of the hospital ran out. The hospital reportedly did not receive its oxygen quota until 5:30 PM the next day.
Similarly, Ganga Ram Hospital had to witness the deaths of 25 patients with the lives of 60 more patients at stake, within a span of 24 hours due to the shortage of oxygen.