Water has gone above head, arrange oxygen now: Delhi HC raps Centre
New Delhi, May 1, 2021
The Delhi High Court on Saturday rapped the Centre over the shortage of medical oxygen in the national capital amid the raging second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and directed it to arrange the life-saving gas "by whatever means", saying "water has gone above the head, arrange everything now".
The court made the observation while hearing the petitions on how the health infrastructure is trying to cope with the deadly second wave of the pandemic.
Considering the death of eight Covid patients, including a doctor, at Delhi's Batra Hospital due to the shortage of oxygen earlier in the day, the high court said: "Water has gone above the head. You have to arrange everything now. You have made the allocations. You have to fulfil them. Eight lives have been lost. We can't shut our eyes to it."
The court had earlier recorded the submissions made regarding the tragic incident at the Batra Hospital in the Mehrauli area of the national capital that was reported at around 12.45 p.m. on Saturday.
This was the second time in a week that the hospital ran out of medical oxygen. On April 24, the hospital had received a last-minute supply which arrived minutes after its oxygen reserves ran out.
The high court further directed the Centre to ensure that Delhi receives 490 MT oxygen supply on Saturday by "whatever means".
"We direct the Centre to ensure that Delhi receives its 490 MT oxygen supply today by whatever means. Delhi is not an industrial state... It doesn't have cryogenic tankers," the high court said.
"Eight people have died... Will we shut our eyes to people dying in Delhi," the court asked.
The court further directed the Centre to submit its explanation by Monday if it fails to supply medical oxygen to Delhi hospitals.
"We'll see your explanation on Monday if you can't supply oxygen," it said.
The court also said that it is the responsibility of the Central government to arrange oxygen tankers as well.
"The allocation to Delhi has been in force from April 20 and not for a single day Delhi has received the allocated supply," the court noted.