Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Thursday said the city was still grappling with a huge demand for oxygen supplies to treat coronavirus patients, despite the Centre increasing allocation quota for the national Capital.
“Over the last few days, we have witnessed paucity of oxygen, medicines, vaccination and other resources across the country due to the coronavirus situation,” Kejriwal said at a digital briefing. “Delhi has also been facing issues especially related to oxygen. I have personally spent entire nights attempting to ensure oxygen reaches city hospitals.”
Kejriwal said the city requires a daily supply of 700 tonnes of oxygen as per the government estimates. “The Centre had allocated a quota of 378 tonnes of oxygen to Delhi initially but has increased that to 480 tonnes, for which we are very, very thankful,” he added. “Though it is lower than what is required, we are thankful for the increase.”
The chief minister pointed out that the Centre decides which company will supply oxygen to different states and cities such as Delhi, where oxygen is not manufactured. “I want to thank the Centre and the Delhi High Court for helping us deal with shortages,” he said. “I, Delhi’s ministers and officers have not slept for several nights and were in constant touch with the Centre to solve oxygen supply problems.”
Kejriwal said the Aam Aadmi Party government was exploring options to transport oxygen from Odisha to Delhi by air to reduce travel time. “A lot of the increased quota is coming from Odisha,” he added. “This will take time to reach Delhi.”
Kejriwal also urged chief ministers of other states to come together to tackle the coronavirus crisis. He promised that the Delhi government will share resources such as oxygen, essential medicines and medical personnel, including doctors, with other states once the situation improves in the national Capital.
He said the pandemic was a “very big emergency” and states must fight it unitedly. “If we are divided, India will not survive,” he added. “Instead of watching how supplies of essential resources were stopped by one state from reaching another, people wanted to see how these states were helping each other in this time of need.”
The Haryana government on Wednesday accused authorities in Delhi of stealing its share of oxygen supplies amid shortages.
India recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 3,14,835 coronavirus infections on Thursday. The country now has 1,59,30,965 cases and the toll rose to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 deaths.