By LE Desk

New Delhi, April 24: If anyone obstructs oxygen supply, we will not spare them, the Delhi High Court said today as it heard a hospital’s petition over shortage of oxygen for seriously-ill Covid patients.

The Delhi government told the court that the system will “collapse” if the capital doesn’t get 480 metric tonnes of oxygen. The worrying shortage of medical oxygen has been flagged by several hospitals which are overwhelmed by the thousands of new daily cases of COVID-19. The issue, which has come contentious in the past few days, has been raised before the High Court by several hospitals, big and small. The oxygen shortage has caused the death of Covid patients in at least one hospital in Delhi in the last 24 hours.

 “If we don’t get 480 metric tonnes (of oxygen), the system will collapse. We have seen in the last 24 hours. Something disastrous will happen,” the Arvind Kejriwal government told the court, adding that it received only 297 metric tonnes of the medical gas yesterday. The state government also sought a detailed affidavit from the centre with clear details of oxygen allocation and supply schedule, NDTV reported.

“When will Delhi get 480 metric tonnes? Please tell us that,” the court asked the centre as it heard Maharaja Agrasen Hospital’s petition.

The court asked the Delhi government to give one instance of who was obstructing the oxygen supply, also asking the state government to inform the Centre too about such officials of the local administration so that it could take action against them. 

In today’s hearing, the Centre had earlier put the blame back on the AAP government. “States are arranging from tankers to everything. We are just assisting them. But in Delhi, everything is put on us. Delhi officials have to do their job,” the Centre said.

“I know my responsibility. I know many things but not saying anything. Let’s try and not be a cry baby,” Solicitor General Tushar Mehta said in response to Delhi government lawyer Rahul Mehra’s complaint that the centre was not complying with the guidelines for oxygen allocation. 

“We are not fighting elections,” Mr Mehta said.

Twenty-five people died last night at the Jaipur Golden Hospital in Delhi due to shortage of medical oxygen, a top official at the hospital said today. The hospital too has approached the Delhi High Court to flag the oxygen crisis.

Another hospital, which approached the High Court, said it needs 8,000 litres of oxygen, adding that it manage even with 6,000 litres. The hospital said it was given only 500 litres this morning. “We can’t manage,” the hospital told the court, according to NDTV.

Delhi yesterday logged 348 deaths linked to Covid, highest in a day so far. The city – battling with the fourth Covid wave – reported 24,331 new coronavirus cases.

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