Amidst the ongoing shortage of medical oxygen in Delhi due to the surge in the Covid-19 cases, allegations have emerged that the refillers are facing harassment from the govt, and the general public, who were sourcing oxygen cylinders from such refillers, are now finding it difficult to get oxygen.
Advocate Amit Kumar Singh, the founder of NGO HUM – Dedicated for Sewa, posted a video message in which he described the situation after Delhi govt took over the oxygen refilers in the city. According to Kumar, the attendants of the Covid-19 patients who were arranging medical oxygen from the refillers are unable to arrange them now as the Government has closed down their operations. Only 13 refillers are allowed to provide medical oxygen, but the numbers released by the Government are non-responsive.
Many private vendors in Delhi were refilling oxygen cylinders at a nominal cost in Delhi. The Kejriwal govt yesterday closed all of them and released a list of just 13 refillers. People are running from pillar to post to get oxygen refill but nothing happening. pic.twitter.com/kuPTSabxZy— Rahul Kaushik (@kaushkrahul) May 1, 2021
Amit Kumar Singh said that the Delhi govt has sealed an oxygen refiller at West Vinod Nagar in Delhi, and seized the cylinders from them. He also said that after that the govt released the numbers of 6 oxygen agencies, but none of them is picking the phone. Singh suggested that the Delhi govt should let the refilling agency function by deploying its officials there, and allow the private refilers to continue operating.
Refiller station owner claimed harassment by DM officials
Following the video of Amit Kumar Singh went viral on social media, OpIndia reached out to the refilling station mentioned by Singh to learn about the difficulties they are facing. On the condition of anonymity, the owner of the refilling agency told us that since the orders were passed by the Delhi Government to deploy teams at the medical oxygen refilling stations, their station has been shut down by the authorities. He informed that the government officials confiscated their cylinders and closed down the premises. He further added that his team members were also picked by the government officials to present them at DM’s office.
The owner broke down while talking to OpIndia and said, “They have closed my refilling station. People are calling me. Now tell me from where I can arrange oxygen for them? They picked my team members and harassed them. It was torture. They took away my cylinders too. I have no answer for anyone who is seeking help. ”
When we searched on social media, his refilling station’s address is still being widely shared on social media as a genuine source for medical oxygen.
Delhi Government ordered DMs to deploy teams at refilling centres
On April 28, Delhi Government had issued an order in which it directed District Magistrates to deploy teams to ensure medical oxygen shall be sold by the retailers and refillers strictly in accordance with the license conditions. The order was supposed to smoothen the supply of medical oxygen in the national capital, but it seems to have led to harassment of the refilling station owners.