The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that hospitals in the city should set up their own oxygen plants taking a cue from the “bitter experience” of the Covid-19 pandemic, Bar and Bench reported. The court said large hospitals having 100 beds or more should set up oxygen plants producing at least two times their requirement, while hospitals and nursing homes having 50-100 beds should set up an oxygen plant to meet their normal need.

The court said that the directions should be complied with by all the hospitals, including those under the Delhi government, the central government or municipal corporations, as well as new hospitals that are being set up. It said that while the pandemic was a “once in a century event”, setting up of oxygen plants would go a long way in reducing the dependence on outside sources for medical oxygen if a similar situation were to arise in future.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh made the observations after a status report was filed apprising the court about the status of installation of oxygen Pressure Swing Adsorption plants by the Centre and the Delhi government, Live Law reported.

The bench asked for a status report on the matter by May 27 and asked the Delhi Development Authority and the city’s municipal corporations to relax their norms, so that the plants can be installed without affecting the parking spaces allotted to the hospitals.

The court also ordered its amicus curiae Senior Advocate Rajshekhar Rao to convene a meeting to discuss the matter with the chairpersons of the municipal corporations, chairman of the DDA and the representatives of the hospitals having 100 beds or more.

The High Court’s directions hold significance as the devastating second wave of coronavirus in India led to widespread shortages of medical oxygen and medicines in Delhi and several other states over the past several weeks. Multiple hospitals in the city were forced to approach courts to ensure they received supplies of medical oxygen to save lives of Covid-19 patients. Several others have been sending out desperate SOS messages on social media as supplies ran dangerously low.

Earlier this month, the Bombay High Court too proposed that private hospitals should set up their own oxygen plants to tackle the demand for the life-saving gas.