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‘Our trucks are being diverted midway’: INOX informs Delhi HC that Rajasthan govt had held up 4 oxygen tankers meant for Delhi

INOX, the largest supplier of medical oxygen in the country, told the court that four of its tankers were seized by the Rajasthan authorities. The company cited that it could not send the tankers for transporting oxygen from Linde and Air Liquide for Delhi as they were held by Rajasthan authorities.

During the day-to-day hearing on petitions and applications related to Covid-19 management in Delhi, the bench comprising Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli was informed by INOX that they were facing difficulties in Rajasthan and Delhi. Sachin Dutta, appearing for Jaipur Golden Hospital, said, “the bureaucratic machinery of Delhi government has completely failed.”

Tankers diverted midway, said INOX

Siddharth Jain from Inox told the court that they have asked for directions on supply to left out hospitals. They are getting SoS calls from the hospitals. “Please appreciate the supplier’s stand as well. State govt should either tell suppliers to send or arrange. We can’t sleep. We need some directions, he said. Jain further added that INOX factories are working 24×7, but when the trucks leave, they are getting diverted midway. “Why would I not want to give oxygen. It is my business. Nobody has complained except for Delhi hospitals. I wonder why,” he said.

Four tankers with Haryana number plates seized by Rajasthan claimed INOX

During the hearing, INOX, the largest supplier of medical oxygen in the country, told the court that four of its tankers were seized by the Rajasthan authorities. Notably, INOX is also in charge of transporting part of the oxygen supply to Delhi from other firms. The company cited that it could not send the tankers for transporting oxygen from Linde and Air Liquide for Delhi as they were held by Rajasthan authorities.

Rajasthan alleged they held tankers due to a shortage

Solicitor General Tushar Mehta told the court that central government officers spoke to the chief secretary in Rajasthan. The state alleged they were forced to take the step as there was a shortage of tankers. The central government promised the court that it would take action against those who are responsible. He said, “this will be an example for other states”. By the time hearing ended, the tankers had not been released, but Mehta promised the court that they would be freed soon.

The court said, “We hope and expect the State of Rajasthan to honour the orders passed by the Central government and the court. An obstruction in the matter of supply of medical oxygen at this stage would tantamount to endangering hundreds of human lives if not more … Stoppage of tankers will have a snowballing effect and would certainly impact the concerned state itself.”

‘Bureaucratic machinery of Delhi has failed’ – Jaipur Golden Hospital

During the hearing, senior advocate Sachin Dutta, Jaipur Golden Hospital, informed the court that the oxygen supply chain was being disrupted by the government of Delhi. Dutta said that Jaipur Golden Hospital was supposed to get 3.6 MT of oxygen by 5 PM, which the hospital did not receive. He added that the Delhi minister claimed hospitals were making unnecessary SOS calls for oxygen. “How long after the patient dies should hospitals issue SOS,” asked Dutta.

“Inox should directly send me the dispatch note. The bureaucratic machinery of Delhi govt has completely failed,” added Dutta. The court asked the Delhi government to hold a meeting with all stakeholders, including oxygen suppliers, refillers, hospitals and government officials, in the evening and report it to the court on Tuesday about the distribution plan in the national capital.

‘look for the tankers and not oxygen’

The court took note of the letter the Delhi government had written to Sajjan Jindal, chairman of the JSW group. The central government claimed that the Delhi government asked the company to provide any spare oxygen to them. The centre has asserted that the oxygen supply should be done at the national level. SC Mehta said that the state governments should concentrate on arranging tankers and not look for oxygen. If there is any spare or extra oxygen, it should be surrendered to the central government.

When Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, appealed the court to permit them to inform the central government of any extra/spare oxygen that they may become aware of, SC Mehta said, “The central government has information on all industries, we don’t want anybody to inform us.” Mehra said on record that the communication from Delhi government would be restricted for scouting cryogenic tankers across the country.

‘Follow Delhi government’s directions or face action’ court told refillers

The court directed all the refillers in the national capital to ensure they supply refilled cylinders as per the Delhi government’s directions, and these supplies should be accounted for. “Any violation, it said, would lead to strict action against them,” the court added.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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