The Haryana government on Wednesday accused authorities in Delhi of stealing its share of oxygen supplies as states grapple with shortages amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, the Hindustan Times reported.
Health Minister Anil Vij alleged that an oxygen tanker that had been on its way to Faridabad via the Capital on Tuesday was “looted” by the Delhi government. “We are being forced to give our oxygen to Delhi,” Vij said, without giving any more details.
Vij said that his government will offer police protection to all carriers transporting oxygen to Haryana to prevent this from happening in the future. “First, we will complete our needs, then give to others,” he added.
There was no immediate reaction to Vij’s allegations from the Delhi government of the Aam Aadmi Party, which has been scrambling to shore up supplies of medical oxygen to hospitals in the Capital.
On Tuesday authorities said hospitals in Delhi would start running out of medical oxygen soon, with government facilities reporting they only had enough oxygen to last another eight hours while some private ones had enough for just four or five hours.
Replenishment came before dawn on Wednesday. At some prominent facilities, including Sir Ganga Ram Hospital and Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, authorities said they were merely hours away from running out of supplies, when the tanks arrived late in the night.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Tuesday called the crisis in India a “coronavirus storm”, which is overwhelming its health system. He said the Centre was working with state governments and private companies to deliver oxygen with “speed and sensitivity”.
Meanwhile, India on Wednesday reported 2.95 lakh new cases and 2,023 deaths in the last 24 hours. This is an unprecedented figure since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. The country now has 1,56,16,130 cases and the toll rose to 1,82,553.