Why are you not waking up?: Delhi High Court tells Centre on Oxygen shortage in the capital region
Hearing a plea in regard to urgent need of oxygen in some Delhi hospitals, High court came down heavily
The Delhi High Court while rebuking the Centre said it is not happy with the Centre's policy to allow operation of steel plants generating their own oxygen while people are in dire need of Oxygen
Delhi High Court today directed the Centre to take steps to provide oxygen by whatever means to the hospitals in the national capital region which are treating serious COVID-19 patients and are facing scarcity of oxygen.
A bench comprising Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said responsibility to ensure timely oxygen supply is squarely on Central government and if necessary, entire supply of oxygen to industries including steel and petroleum should be diverted for medical usage.
"Why is the Centre not waking up to the gravity of the situation? We are shocked and dismayed at reports of hospitals running out of oxygen but steel plants are running," the high court said.
The Delhi High Court bench said that their concern is not just for Delhi but all parts of the country. High Court asks what the Centre is doing?
“How is this that the government is so oblivious to the ground reality? We can't have people dying? Yesterday, we were told you were trying to import. What happened to that” HC asks. “This is an emergency of such grave nature,” it added.
Tushar Mehta while representing the Centre was seen squirming and told the court that supply of oxygen is on its way and it will reach the hospital in question shortly. “Oxygen has been delivered at one of the Max hospitals.”
While pulling the government on its lacklustre performance, they added. “This hospital will get the supplies but what about the many other hospitals also facing a shortage. You can pass an order as it is a national emergency, no industry will say no.”
The hearing was based on Max Hospitals petition in Delhi HC which stated that the hospital at Patparganj, has currently only 3 hours of supply of oxygen and if oxygen runs out life of 400 patients including 262 covid patients is under threat. A number of patients are critical and on ventilator support.
"The steel and petrochemical industries are oxygen guzzlers and diverting oxygen from there can meet hospitals' requirements," the bench observed.
"If Tatas can divert oxygen they are generating for their steel plants to medical use, why can't others? This is the height of greed. Is there no sense of humanity left," the court observed.