The Delhi High Court on Tuesday rebuked the Aam Aadmi Party government on the distribution of medical oxygen supply and handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the national Capital, reported Live Law. The court said if the Delhi government was unable to handle the situation, it will ask the central government to send its officers and take over.
The bench of justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli was hearing a plea by hospitals regarding the shortage of oxygen and drugs like remdesivir. “Set your house in order,” the court said. “Enough is enough.”
Hospitals in Delhi are facing an acute shortage of oxygen. On April 23, as many as 25 “sickest” coronavirus patients died overnight at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital due to scarcity of oxygen at the medical facility. A day later, at least 20 coronavirus patients died due to a shortage of oxygen at the city’s Jaipur Golden Hospital. Last week, many hospitals took to social media to plead with the government to replenish their oxygen supplies and threatened to stop admissions of new patients.
The court pulled up the Delhi government and said it was not able to deal with the rising cases. “Your system has failed,” it said. “Black-marketing of oxygen still continues. How are people procuring oxygen? Large-scale hoarding is going and you are not taking action. Take action against them.”
The High Court asked the Delhi government to take over an oxygen refilling plant with immediate effect and served contempt notices to five other refillers. “We will ask you to take action against the refillers and issue a contempt notice because they did not appear even after they were called,” the court said. “This cylinder business is a mess. You have to look into it and put your house in order. If they are belligerent, then they will see our belligerence. Keep them in custody if they are playing with people’s life like this.”
The court ordered the Delhi government to send its officers to the oxygen plants and take over the running of the sites if required. “Post your officer [over there] and let them run it,” it said. “You have all the power in law to take them in custody.”
Delhi on Monday recorded 20,201 new coronavirus cases, pushing the overall infection tally in the national Capital to 10,47,916 since the pandemic broke out in January last year. The daily positivity rate was 35.02% and 380 new deaths, a record high, were reported. The toll stood at 14,628.
Earlier on Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that his government will import 21 oxygen plants from France and 18 cryogenic tankers from Thailand. Kejriwal said that the Delhi government was facing problems with the Centre’s oxygen allotment due to scarcity of tankers.