New Delhi: The worst fears of the Delhi administration have come true. Oxygen stocks are down to a trickle in more than half-a-dozen private hospitals.
The acknowledgement from the Arvind Kejriwal government, even as the Delhi High Court asked the Centre to ensure that the national capital receives its full quota of oxygen.
Smaller hospitals were the worst hit and had been harping on their shortages since morning. Saroj Super Specialty Hospital had even approached the High Court in the afternoon, appealing for release of supplies by INOX. Relief came but it was barely a few hours' supply.
Besides, Tirath Ram Shah Hospital, UK Nursing Home, Rathi Hospital and Santom Hospital have run out of oxygen, the Delhi government said. Another facility on its last leg was the Holy Family Hospital.
The Centre has allotted Delhi an additional quota of 500 metric tonnes, but the state is adamant it needs 700 Metric Tonnes. Even access to the allotted quota was proving to be a challenge with tankers often being stopped by the authorities of states in which they were playing.
A part of the problem is that the facilities from where the extra oxygen is to be sourced are mostly in faraway Bengal and Odisha.
On Thursday, as the High Court ordered the Centre to ensure supplies to Delhi with a dedicated corridor and paramilitary forces' protection to tankers, the Centre told the states that there can be no restriction on the movement of oxygen. "No restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to hospitals of the state or Union Territory in which they are located," read a government order.
The Delhi High Court on Thursday said if the governments want, "they can make heaven and earth meet".
LATEST S.O.S: Fortis Hospital in Haryana has issued a distress call to the Centre over shortage of liquid oxygen. In a series of tweets, the hospital's official handle claimed it had only 45 minutes of oxygen left. The appeal has cajoled political netas "to act immediately and help save patients’ lives".
NASHIK LEAK: The tank from which liquid oxygen leaked at a civic-run hospital in Nashik, killing 24 Covid-19 patients, was operationalised just 21 days before the incident, an official said on Thursday. The leak occurred when oxygen was being filled into the tank from a tanker.