Yesterday, with folded hands and a sombre voice, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ‘make few phone calls’ to some states and solve the National Capital’s Oxygen emergency.
While Arvind Kejriwal continues to play politics over the crisis, Union Health Ministry informed the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that the central government had sanctioned funds from PM CARES Fund to Kejriwal Government in December 2020 to set up eight PSA (Pressure Swing Absorption) oxygen plants in Delhi. However, since December, only one such plant has been set up by the Kejriwal govt.
The Delhi HC, in turn, slammed both the Delhi government and the central government due to the oxygen crisis in the National Capital.
Delhi High Court in its order asks Kejriwal govt-when Central govt had sanctioned funds in Dec. 2020 to set up 8 Pressure Swing Absorption(PSA) Plants for production of oxygen, why only one has become operational till date.— Monika Arora (@advmonikaarora) April 23, 2021
As usual, Delhi Govt had no answers. pic.twitter.com/1b60NRWTee
The HC order stated that the Central govt officer Nipun Vinayak pointed out that two hospitals in Delhi namely, Satyawadi Raja Harish Chandra Hospital and Vardhaman Mahavir Medical College & Safdarjung Hospital have not yet provided the site clearance where the PSA plant can be installed. Two hospitals have now been provided with the site clearance and the equipment is likely to be installed on April 30.
The court ordered that the remaining hospitals must comply with the central government scheme immediately. HC ordered that the compliance report must be submitted in the next hearing.
It added that the “central government should review the allocation of oxygen on a day to day basis so that its utilization is achieved in the most efficient manner”.
It is pertinent to note that the Delhi HC had convened to hold an urgent hearing amidst a shortage of oxygen after Max Hospital Patparganj moved the Court saying that they were on dangerously low levels of oxygen supply. The Delhi High Court had asked the centre to ‘beg, borrow or steal’ oxygen to provide for medical purposes.
The Court said if procuring oxygen from the industries means that those industries have to be shut down for the time being, let them be. “We cannot afford to lose lives. That is the bottom line,” said the Court.
Arvind Kejriwal peddles lies during a meeting with the Prime Minister
While hospitals in Delhi has been facing the most serious shortage of oxygen due to surge in Covid-19 cases, and CM Arvind Kejriwal has been talking about the shortage for the last few days, it has emerged that he never talked to the centre about it before the meeting that was held yesterday. In the review meeting of CMs chaired by the PM on the Covid-19 situation, the Delhi CM talked about the Oxygen Express initiative of the Indian Railways to transport oxygen, but a statement by the Indian railways reveals that Delhi has not approached the railways for the same yet.
According to a statement issued by the railways, Maharashtra Government had approached the Ministry of Railways on 15th April to explore the feasibility of transporting Liquid Medical Oxygen tankers by rail from various locations across the country to supply points in Maharashtra, after which the ministry had started the exercise on a war footing to immediately explore options, work out the modalities and prepare a plan for the movement of tankers.
After the detailed planning and sourcing of suitable wagons and tankers, the first Oxygen Express started moving from Vizag to Mumbai on 19th April. Railways had constructed ramps in just 24 hours to load and unload the road tankers on the train wagons. After the first transport of oxygen tankers by train from Vizag to Mumbai, other states also came forward with the request for the same.
According to the railways, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh have sent requests to transport oxygen tankers, and Madhya Pradesh has also expressed interest. There is no mention of any request received from the Delhi govt in the statement issued the day before.