Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said the national Capital was facing an “acute shortage” of oxygen supply amid the surge in coronavirus cases. In a tweet, Kejriwal claimed that Delhi’s quota of oxygen had been diverted to other states by the Centre, at a time when the city required an increase supply.
The Delhi chief minister also wrote to Union minister Piyush Goyal, pointing out that 140 metric tonnes of oxygen meant for Delhi was diverted to other states and demanded that the supply be restored, NDTV reported.
“The output of M/s Inox, one of the major suppliers to various hospitals of Delhi, has been largely diverted to other states,” Kejriwal wrote. “At this critical juncture, it would not be possible for hospitals to enter into contractual arrangements with the new suppliers who have now been assigned to Delhi”.
At a press briefing on Sunday evening, Kejriwal said that he had spoken about the supply of oxygen, among other matters, with Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and Home Minister Amit Shah as well.
Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had also tweeted on Sunday saying that the government had written to the Centre to increase supply of oxygen as hospitals were running low on stock.
With multiple states flagging a shortage of oxygen, the Centre on Sunday decided to prohibit supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, in order to divert the stock for medical use. It has also decided to import 50,000 metric tonnes of medical oxygen and double its domestic production.
The Indian Railways will also run special trains to supply oxygen to states and Union Territories that are facing an acute shortage.
Meanwhile, the Delhi government is likely to extend the weekend lockdown imposed in the city to weekdays as well, NDTV reported on Sunday, quoting unidentified officials. The decision is likely to be announced after a meeting between Kejriwal and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal, scheduled on Monday morning, according to News18.
On April 15, Kejriwal had announced a weekend lockdown in the city, which will stay in effect from 10 pm on Fridays to 6 am on Mondays.
Delhi has been witnessing a massive surge in coronavirus cases in the second wave of the pandemic. On Sunday, the city reported 25,462 cases and 161 deaths in 24 hours. The positivity rate had shot up up 29.74% from 24.56% on Saturday.