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Coronavirus | Centre steps in to restore oxygen supplies to Delhi

A relative of a COVID-19 patient carries an oxygen cylinder for refilling in New Delhi on April 21, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Oxygen stocks at several hospitals in the national capital dipped to alarming lows following disruption of supplies from Haryana on Wednesday. Supplies were restored by late evening after intervention from the Centre. Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan said, “The problem regarding Haryana and Delhi has been resolved.”

Also read: Delhi High Court slams Centre for not diverting enough oxygen from industries to critically ill COVID patients

Hospitals in Haryana too might be staring at oxygen shortages soon, said Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan.

“There is a 24/7 control team by the Centre that will mediate in disputes between States on supply of oxygen….We are in a pandemic and there will be differences that crop up between States on oxygen supply,” Mr. Bhushan said, adding that there was a committee for every hospital, and guidelines on appropriate management of oxygen. “Green corridors have been set up to ensure smooth passage of oxygen trucks.”

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “Central govt has increased Delhi’s quota of oxygen. We r very grateful to centre for this.”

The disruption in supplies from Haryana was preceded by a tweet by Health Minister Anil Vij, who said a tanker carrying oxygen for a hospital in Faridabad in the State had been “looted” by the Delhi government on Tuesday. “Also, pressure is being mounted on us to supply oxygen to Delhi, but we will supply only if we have spare oxygen. Our first priority is Haryana,” said the Minister.

Also read: Haryana govt official stopped oxygen supply: Manish Sisodia

Hours later, the Delhi-based Holy Family Hospital authorities said they had been informed by the “supplier of liquid oxygen in Faridabad that the Haryana government was not allowing to supply oxygen outside the State”. Sumit Ray, the hospital’s head of the Department of Critical Care, said the hospital had stock that would last only until 11 a.m. on Thursday.

At 4 p.m., the St. Stephen’s Hospital had oxygen stock for two hours, which was replenished just in time. An executive at the Apollo Hospital said its oxygen would last till late night on Wednesday but that supplies were expected in time.

Haryana has a cumulative capacity of 270 MT liquid oxygen per day with a plant each in Faridabad and Panipat. The Centre on Tuesday reduced the State’s share to 80 MT from the earlier 118 MT, and fixed a quota of 140 MT for Delhi, Mr. Vardhan said. The State was also directed to supply around 20 MT of liquid oxygen to neigbouring Punjab. “When Haryana is producing 270 MT and giving 200 MT to others, there is sometimes popular and public resentment here as well as to why we are not safeguarding our interests,” he said.

Two hospitals in Gurugram too had tense moments with just a few hours of oxygen left on Wednesday. “It is a national crisis….The quota fixed by the Government of India will be honoured,” said Mr. Vardhan.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said a Haryana official reached the Faridabad plant and stopped the movement of oxygen tankers meant for the national capital. Vipul Srivastava, associate manager of the Linde O2 Plant said that tankers with liquid oxygen were to leave for 15 hospitals, including eight in Delhi, by 9 p.m.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2021 6:26:28 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/coronavirus-centre-steps-in-to-restore-oxygen-supplies-to-delhi/article34376061.ece

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