On Thursday, the Delhi government objected to the Union government’s request to the Supreme Court to carry out a detailed audit of oxygen utilisation in the national capital.
According to the reports, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said the centre has already supplied 730 MT of oxygen to Delhi on Wednesday, which was more than the Supreme Court’s order asking them to supply 700 MT of Oxygen. SG Mehta also insisted that there was a need for carrying out a simultaneous audit of oxygen utilisation in Delhi.
Requesting an audit to know the real demand for Oxygen in Delhi, SG Mehta said that some experts believed that Delhi could manage the situation with 500-600 MT with proper distribution and utilisation the way Mumbai has been doing. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta accused the Delhi government of being slow in offloading oxygen from tankers and allowing them to go back for a refill.
“Unloading is taking too long since Delhi has a huge excess supply. This is causing a delay in the turnaround of tankers and fresh supplies. Any plan will only succeed if tankers and containers unload in a maximum of eight hours so that they can go back to the eastern part of India or Gujarat and get more supplies for replenishing the stocks,” he added.
Stressing that Delhi was unnecessarily seeking excess oxygen, the SG said, “On Wednesday, not one complaint of stock out was received from Delhi. It may be noted that this was based on supplies of oxygen of 585 MT the day before on May 4, made to Delhi.”
Mehta informed that though the SC had directed the Centre to maintain 700 MT oxygen supply to Delhi until Monday, the supplies would drop to 560 MT on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
Delhi govt objects to Oxygen audit, says SC should audit centre’s arbitrary decisions
Meanwhile, the Delhi government, objecting to the audit, said that the Supreme Court should rather order an audit to look into the centre’s arbitrary allocation of oxygen and mismanagement of transportation to Delhi and other states. Appearing for the Delhi government, senior advocate Rahul Mehra said the centre’s allocation of Oxygen to Delhi did not reflect ground realities and was mere paperwork, and if at all an audit was required, it should be of the central government’s arbitrary allocations.
Responding to the Delhi government’s allegations, the solicitor general said a survey was conducted on Wednesday evening about the oxygen stock at 56 major hospitals in Delhi and 11 oxygen refillers.
“The findings of the survey showed significant stock in hospitals in Delhi. Large quantities of oxygen, which reached Delhi in the evening yesterday (730 MT), have still not been distributed to hospitals, and that will improve the stock further,” he said.
However, Mehra claimed that the centre was carrying a witch-hunt against the Delhi government in this difficult time. However, the bench said that it would not allow courts to be used as a platform for the recrimination or a witch-hunt against the Delhi government.
The Delhi government also added that increasing oxygen allocation for Delhi by another 200 MT would result in a cut of 2-3% of allocations for other states. “The Centre keeps repeating that increasing Delhi’s allocation will reduce that of other states. It does not lie in the Centre’s mouth to say this when no state has complained till now. The Centre has not been able to meet the demand of 700 MT and is now going to reduce it to 560 MT for the next three days. This is continuing contumacious conduct by the Centre,” Mehra said.