Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has sought states’ cooperation in oxygen after instances of hold-ups of tankers at the border and suppliers in others states refusing supply fearing law and order problems. Pointing to the crisis of oxygen in Delhi, he said, “Delhi should get the quota that it was meant to get”.
“There should be no issues between state governments on this. Each state should get its own quota… we should all fight Corona together, not fight between ourselves,” Mr Sisodia said. The Central government, he added, “needs to intervene and fix this issue”.
This evening, St Stephens’ hospital sent desperate appeals for help, saying it had just two hours’ supply left for its 400 oxygen-dependent patients. Several other hospitals sent desperate messages of help that their stocks can last only for a few hours.
Father George, the Director of Delhi’s Holy Family Hospital, told NDTV they have supplies till evening and around 400 patients are on oxygen support. Their Faridabad-based supplier has refused to bring any more oxygen, citing “orders from above”, he said.
Mr Sisodia said an oxygen tanker was held up at the Delhi-Haryana border in Faridabad by a government official and resumed its journey only after intervention by the Central government.
The hold-up came hours after the Haryana government accused Delhi of “looting” an oxygen tanker bound for Faridabad.
“We are being forced to give our oxygen to Delhi. First, we’ll complete our needs, then give to others… From now, I have ordered police protection for all tankers,” Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said.
Mr Sisodia said hospitals should not have to waste time and resources tracking oxygen tankers. “Doctors need to focus on treating patients,” he said.
Sources in Delhi’s ruling Aam Aadmi Party said the Centre has given a bigger quota to Delhi in view of the current oxygen crisis.
Delhi’s oxygen quota from 378 MT to 500 MT, but still below the 700 MT it had sought. The additional oxygen is expected to come from Odisha.
“We welcome the hike, but even the 378 MT is not being fully met,” an AAP leader said.