Delhi HC Seeks Details from Centre as Max Hospital said that Oxygen Concentrators are stuck in Customs
On Monday, the Delhi High Court sought details from the Centre on the number of oxygen concentrators that are with the Customs Department in anticipation of clearance, at a time when the National Capital continues to face a grave crisis of medical oxygen.
The court’s order came after senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal, representing Max Hospital, told the court that 3,000 oxygen concentrators belonging to the hospital were jammed with the Customs Department. Advocate Amit Mahajan, appearing for the Centre, replied that the number of concentrators is dynamic and 48,000 such consignments have been cleared.
Many countries, including the US and the UK, have been sending oxygen concentrators as part of the medical aid to India. However, they have been lying idle, awaiting clearance by the concerned authorities.
Oxygen concentrators filter other gases from ambient air and channel pure oxygen for personal use. On account of a high number of COVID-19 cases, the use of oxygen concentrators in the National Capital and in the other parts of the country, has gone up radically. Numerous hospitals in Delhi and other cities have been making SOS calls beseeching oxygen on social media, with hours and minutes left before supplies run out. Recently near about 40 people have died in Delhi after oxygen ran out in hospitals.
In fact, on Saturday, the Delhi High Court had also directed the Centre that Delhi must receive its full quota of medical oxygen that day “by whatever means”.
The bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said, “Water has gone above the head. You have to arrange everything now. You have made the allocations. You have to fulfil it. Eight lives have been lost. We can’t shut our eyes to it.”
The issue has also reached the Supreme Court, which ordered on May 2 that the deficit supply of oxygen to Delhi must be rectified on or before midnight of May 3. According to approximations, while the prevailing oxygen supply in Delhi stood at 490 MT a day, the expected demand has gone up by 133% to 700 MT a day in recent times with the second wave of the pandemic.