Create special corridor for oxygen supply to Delhi, HC directs Centre
We all know that this country is being run by god, says Bench
The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the Centre to immediately create a special corridor for safe and swift passage of oxygen tankers from neighbouring States such as Haryana and Uttar Pradesh to the Capital.
Delhi has been allocated 480 metric tonnes of medical oxygen by the Central government to tide over the unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases. The Delhi government, however, stated that 140 metric tonnes of medical oxygen scheduled to come from Panipat in Haryana were not being allowed to be picked up by the local authorities there.
“The situation in Delhi has rather turned precarious, with several hospitals complaining of complete exhaustion of oxygen or depletion to the level that it may not last after the next few hours,” a Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli remarked, adding, “We all know that this country is being run by god.” “We make it clear that non-compliance of the said order [of April 21] and our order passed today will be viewed seriously since their non-compliance is likely to result in great loss to lives,” it said.
The High Court also directed the Central government to ensure that adequate security is provided to the trucks transporting the oxygen. “A special corridor may be created for immediate transportation of the oxygen,” the Bench ordered.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre, told the Bench that, "First of all we will have to educate people that Remdesivir is not something which is to be bought off the counter... It is not a drug which you can buy because you feel you have COVID. It will have to be decided by the doctor concerned,” the Solicitor General said.
During the hearing, one of the counsels pointed out that Fabiflu was being distributed by BJP MP Gautam Gambhir in his Lok Sabha constituency area of East Delhi.
The counsel said that the issue is not with Mr. Gambhir’s distribution of the tablet but non-availability of the same tablet in other areas of the Capital.
Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, said since there is a four-fold spike in COVID-19 cases in the Capital, the Centre could consider augmenting 80% of the beds in AIIMS Jhajjar, AIIMS Trauma Centre, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital and Lady Hardinge hospital to make available around 8,000 more beds. “We expect the Central government to look into the requirement,” the Bench said.
The High Court also asked the Delhi government not to put accredited laboratories carrying out COVID-19 testing under pressure to deliver reports within 24-36 hours as it could turn counter productive.
It also asked hospitals, which had approached it over supply of oxygen, to contact the nodal officer of the Delhi government for addressing their concerns.