Delhi on Monday received only 44 per cent, or 433 metric tonnes, of its required daily oxygen supply, according to a bulletin issued by the state government this evening.
The national capital – battling an oxygen shortage triggered by the second Covid wave – had requested 976 MT per day to maintain a regular supply to dozens of private and state-run hospitals in the city.
The 44 per cent shortfall was on a day the centre – which has claimed responsibility for managing oxygen supply during this crisis – was warned by the Supreme Court to correct the deficit to Delhi by midnight. And that was a day after a similar warning to the centre from the Delhi High Court.
According to the Delhi government bulletin, the average daily supply of oxygen is 393 MT. This is despite the centre having raised the daily supply quota to 590 MT.
The average daily consumption in Delhi is 976 MT.
On Monday more than 40 hospitals – with over 7,000 beds between them – had sent out SOS messages over falling oxygen reserves, and the subsequent threat to patients’ lives.
On Friday, when the Supreme Court heard this matter, the centre was told it had a “special responsibility towards Delhi“. The court also warned the centre that similar crises were developing in other parts of the country, and asked if there were plans to deal with them as well.
Marathon hearings in the Delhi High Court have also seen the centre questioned; last week the court said: “Enough is enough. No one is asking for more than allocated…”
Oxygen supplies to Delhi hospitals – and Covid and non-Covid patients in critical need of the gas – has become a major, and tragic, headline over the past fortnight.
Last week 12 people died at a private hospital in the city, and horrific stories have emerged of desperate family members being forced to run around for oxygen cylinders.
The centre has accused the Delhi government of failing to provide the necessary tankers On Monday the centre said there is no oxygen shortage, and that transport was proving to be the problem.
The oxygen crisis aside, the centre has also been criticised for failing to anticipate and plan for the second Covid wave, which has been devastating; this morning over 3.57 lakh new cases were reported in the past 24 hours, of which around 18,000 were from Delhi.
The global community has pitched in, with hundreds of ventilators, and oxygen cylinders and concentrators sent to India, but there are now questions over distribution of the relief material.