Delhi High Court heard petitions from two Delhi hospitals seeking urgent and immediate relief for supply of medical oxygen. The bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli suggested the Centre to tweak the allocation temporarily to ensure that oxygen is supplied to Delhi from nearby locations, so that the daily allocation of oxygen can be met which was still falling short of 100 MT.
Adv. Rahul Mehra, appearing for Delhi government stated that it has issued a list of names of units/re-fillers with contact numbers of the Nodal Officers, who may be contacted for the purpose of refilling oxygen. However, one of the petitioners, Bram Health Care Private Limited submitted that they approached the refilling unit but to no avail, and the nodal officers are not answering the calls. Udit Prakash, Special Secretary, Department of Health was present and was instructed to redress the grievances.
Mehra offered that in case any of the hospitals/nursing homes are not able to get positive response from the concerned Nodal Officers, in that eventuality, either he or Mr. Satyakam may be contacted before preferring a petition before this Court. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta submitted that the centrally operated Virtual Central Control Room has been strengthened to include senior officers of Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary level from various Ministries in order to monitor efficient and adequate availability of medical oxygen in States and UTs.
The court thus stated that all hospitals should approach the Nodal Officer, Udit Prakash and the numbers circulated to meet their requirements and if still these requirements are not met, they may contact Adv. Mehra or Adv Satyakam who generously offered to make themselves available for such queries, before coming to the court. The court also directed the nodal officer to update on the Virtual Central Control Room, the requirements for Medical Oxygen, while also indicating how much of the allocated Oxygen has been received for the day.
Mehra submitted that there is still a shortfall of 100 MT of oxygen due to the supply plants situated about 1,000 kms away and thus requested that if possible, Delhi should receive oxygen from plants located at shorter distances.
“We have put it to the learned Solicitor General that the Empowered Group, which has looked into the aspect of mapping the production and needs of every State and Union Territory, looks at the possibility of making re-allocation, so as to, reduce the distance between the point of production and point of supply. This would make the process of transportation to & fro more efficient, since shorter trips would mean that the same cryogenic tankers would be able to make move trips, if necessary, for making supply during the day,” stated the court.
SG Mehta said the suggestion will be examined and suggested that a competent officer send a communication in this regard to the appropriate officer in central government.
The court stated that in case the Empowered Group which is looking after the allocations concludes that the plan cannot be changed, it may, at least, examine making of interim arrangement till the Railways are in a position to transport the Oxygen from these far off locations to Delhi.
The court also suggested that if it is possible CNG cylinders could be used for storing oxygen so that the same can be made available to hospitals on emergent basis.
The order may be read here:
Courtesy: Sabrang India