The national capital, which has for now been allocated 480 metric tonnes of oxygen for its hospitals, will need as much as 1,000 MTs once it increases bed capacity to deal with the current Covid surge, the Delhi High Court was told on Thursday.
Appearing before the Delhi High Court, which is hearing the matter of oxygen crisis in the capital, Amicus Curiae, senior advocate Rajshekhar Rao, referred to the allocation made by the central government as on April 20 and submitted that while Delhi was allocated 480 MTs and its demand was 700 MTs, there are several instances of states where the allocation was higher than the demand. He referred to Madhya Pradesh where demand was 445 MTs and the state was provided 543 MTs and Maharashtra where the demand was 1,500 MTs and the state was provided 1,661 MTs.
The Delhi government earlier argued that the central government has miserably failed the country and the state and sought change in allocation to it.
“490 MT is not what we asked for. April 18 a letter is written we need 700 MTs. Our requirement is 704 MTs. Everytime my lords have been stopped from passing direction. Some responsibility must now be fixed on the central government. Paper orders… are being passed. We have been put in dock as a statement but not a single response has come from the Centre. Oxygen has to come and it has to be delivered otherwise. I’m urging please do not allow them to shift the goalposts. We face it, we apologise, we act on directions but what has Centre done in past eight days except giving us sermons? Are the allocation order so sancrosanct that lives can be lost and their allocation will continue they want to… Article 21 is being affected everyday, the central government must answer today. This is totally unaccapable; I didn’t raise the pitch for eight days but I am sad there is complete lack of sensitivity… for citizens of Delhi…,” Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing Delhi, told the court, adding the state would require 976 MTs of medical oxygen if it has to augment bed capacity to deal with the fact that pandemic may peak by May 15.
Mehra told the court that there are 16,272 non-ICU beds in major hospitals and by applying the Centre’s formula, the requirement for those beds is 304 MTs. “There are a large number of other hospitals and nursing homes with less than 100 beds and their requirement put together is estimated at 120 MTs of liquid oxygen,” he told the court.
Mehra further submitted that considering the pandemic may peak by May 15, the government is making arrangements to add another 15,000 non-ICU beds which would require 280 MTs of liquid oxygen. He told the court that at present, there are 4,866 ICU beds and the state wants to add another 1,200 by May 10.
“Existing requirement of liquid oxygen for 4,866 ICU beds is 272 MTs,” he told the court, adding that total existing demand is 704 MTs in Delhi which has been the demand since the beginning. The total demand after augmentation of bed capacity would be 976-1,000 MTs, he told the court.