The centre on Wednesday increased supply of medical oxygen to Delhi, where several hospitals have frantically flagged a critical shortage amid a frightening wave of daily Covid cases.
The national capital’s oxygen quota has been increased from 378 metric tonnes per day to 500 metric tonnes, sources within the ruling Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) told NDTV on Wednesday evening.
The additional oxygen supplies are to be diverted from Odisha, the sources added.
The AAP, for whom Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and Health Minister Satyendar Jain have repeatedly urging the centre to help, said they welcomed reports of increased oxygen supply but also struck a note of caution, saying that even the current demand of 378 MT was not being met.
Delhi, struggling to manage an unprecedented surge of Covid, has been flagging a serious shortage of oxygen. Yesterday, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had listed a number of private and government-run hospitals that are running low.
Today – Day 2 of the oxygen crisis in Delhi – six more hospitals, with around 2,000 patients between them, have highlighted fast-depleting oxygen reserves.
And, in what has rapidly become a political blame- game, said O2 tankers scheduled to deliver to them had been blocked at the border with Haryana.
Haryana, meanwhile, accused Delhi of “looting” an oxygen tanker en route to Faridabad, and ordered police protection for its tankers. State health minister Anil Vij said: “We are being forced to give our oxygen to Delhi. First, we’ll complete our needs, then give to others”.
The Arvind Kejriwal government also told the Delhi High Court that oxygen supplier INOX was refusing to send supplies from its plants in Uttar Pradesh, saying it might create a law and order situation.
Yesterday, three key hospitals in Delhi were down to just hours’ supply of oxygen. The GTB hospital had just four hours’ supply, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain tweeted hours after Max hospital and Ganga Ram hospital flagged their shortage. They received supplies hours later.