The Delhi High Court reassured hospitals and said that if someone obstructs the supply of oxygen they will be not spared and, “We will hang the man”. The Delhi High Court was hearing petitions of several hospitals who in the past few days have faced several contingency issues regarding oxygen supply.
Delhi High Court labels the COVID-19 wave a “tsunami”
The Delhi High Court also asked for Centre its preparedness to deal with the crisis. The bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli cited an IIT-Delhi research which said that the peak of the COVID-19 wave will come in mid-May. However, the bench labelled the wave as Tsunami and asked centre the preparations it has made to deal with it.
“Other aspect is, it was in papers. According to IIT-Delhi, peak will come in mid-May… it’s a tsunami. How are we trying to build the capacity? How are we preparing as on date to deal with mid-May?” the Delhi High Court asked.
“It is our responsibility to save who can be saved”: The Delhi High Court
The court also asked if the Centre knows the current infection projection and demanded if the Centre knows how many people can be saved during these distressing times. “What are the projections. We know this disease has low mortality…some will eventually die. What is not good that where people who could be saved, we are losing those. It is our responsibility to see that those who can be saved are brought back from death,” the bench asked.
“Everything will not be at your doorstep”: Centre to Delhi govt
During the hearing, the Delhi government and the Centre were hostile towards each other on the matters of oxygen shortage and cryogenic tankers.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta argued if the govt had any issue regarding tankers, they should contact suppliers directly.
“The problem is you think allocation is done so everything will be served at your doorstep but that’s not how it works. After allocation have you made any effort for the tankers to collect the oxygen?” SG Mehta argued.
“Where’s the promised quota of 480 MT of oxygen?”: Delhi got to Centre
The Delhi High Court also asked the Centre when they will be receiving the promised 480 Mega Tonnes of oxygen per day.
The Court asked, “You [Centre] had assured us [on April 21] that 480 MT per day will reach Delhi. Tell us when will it come? The 480 MT per day is still to see the light of the day. Nobody is doubting your intentions, but the fact is that 480 metric tonnes [of oxygen] have not reached Delhi. We can’t allow people to die like this.”
Meanwhile, in today’s hearing, the Centre again tried putting the blame of the crisis on the management of AAP government. Tushar Mehta argued, “States are arranging from tankers to everything. We are just assisting them. But in Delhi, everything is put on us. Delhi officials have to do their job.”
Batra hospital left gasping for air
In another hearing today, the Batra Hospital from Delhi, which has more than 350 patients admitted at the hospital, approached the court claiming that while they have been allotted 8 tonnes of oxygen each day, they are only receiving 0.5 tonnes. The hospital’s representative in the court said, “Our oxygen will not last for more than 1 hour.”
Jaipur Hospital loses 25 lives due to lack of oxygen
In another appeal, Jaipur Golden Hospital was represented by Senior advocate Sachin Datta. Mr. Datta said that the hospital had already lost 25 lives and the patients are left gasping for air. “We have already lost 25 lives. We are literally gasping for breath. The cases are slipping out of our hand. We are trying to ask every authority but to no avail,” Mr. Datta claimed.
The tussle between the Delhi govt and the Centre comes a day after Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal flagged some serious concerns regarding the lack of oxygen in his state. Kejriwal raised his concerns in front of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a meeting. The meeting raised controversy due to the fact that Mr. Kejriwal chose to televise his part of the meeting to news channels. When Mr. Modi realized that the Delhi CM was doing so, he sternly scolded the latter and said how this was against protocol.
In the meeting, Kejriwal asked tough questions to Prime Minister. The AAP leader asked whom he should contact if the oxygen tanker from one state is stopped and can’t make it to Delhi in due time.