By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 29: The Delhi High Court on Thursday said the central government should expedite the installation of four Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants in Delhi at the earliest. 

The court was told that out of the total eight such plants, two have been made operational and two others would be functioning from Friday, The Indian Express reported.

The eight plants are expected to make available 14.4 metric tonnes of medical oxygen to Delhi. Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, earlier told the court that certain amendments for the few sites during the installation process were made by one of the vendors of the central government and all permissions from Delhi government have been given. However, Mehra also told the court that the vendors have been diverted to some other state by the central government.

The court also directed district collectors, who are empowered under the Essential Commodities Act, to pass orders for release of seized cylinders and Remdesivir as soon as they are seized so that the medicine does not lose their effectiveness. The court also directed the investigating officers to immediately inform district collectors whenever any seizure of Covid-19 drugs is made and also ascertain the genuineness of medicine. The medicine should also be immediately put in a refrigerated environment, it added.

It also directed Delhi Police to not seize any oxygen cylinder or Remdesivir from the possession of patients or their attendants since they would have procured the same only out of desperation and need. It goes without saying that Delhi Police would be bound to conduct an investigation with the assistance and cooperation of the public at large, the court noted further.

Member Secretary, Delhi State Legal Services Authority, Kanwal Jeet Arora told the court many oxygen cylinders and 279 Remdesivir vials have been seized as on April 27 by Delhi Police after conducting raids. Arora submitted that the items should not be retained as case property but released for further use by patients.

With regard to judges in lower courts, the court also said district magistrates in consultation with the district and sessions judges of each district may identify suitable places for setting up of Covid Care Centres. The court also directed the district magistrates and district and sessions judges to coordinate with each other for addressing medical concerns of judicial officers and their immediate family members, The Indian Express said.

With hospitals again complaining about supply of medical oxygen, the court also issued notice to all suppliers of liquid oxygen to Delhi. It asked them to make available the data with regard to supplies made by them to hospitals during the hearing on Thursday.

In respect of people approaching the court for hospital beds, the court said it cannot pass an order when seeing what is happening on ground. “If there were beds available and you were not being granted, we would have passed a direction. Where is the bed available,” it said, adding it is not in a position to order priority.

The court said it would be flooded with 20,000 petitions by Friday in case it starts dealing with individual cases. “Are you coming from Mars or what? You don’t know the situation? You are arguing as if you don’t know the condition of the country or the city. There is a problem there,” said the court to a lawyer insisting for bed.

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