The Delhi High Court on Monday asked the Centre and the Delhi government on the status of seeking help from the Armed forces to set up oxygenated and ICU beds to treat COVID-19 patients saying what the Capital was a “national calamity”.
A Bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli said that a “good case” was made out for seeking assistance of the Army due to the immense load on the existing manpower and infrastructure in the Capital.
The court asked Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma to get an update on a letter written by the Delhi government to Defence Minister Rajnath Singh seeking help from the armed forces to set up, operationalise and run 10,000 beds facility and arrangement of oxygen and medical essentials.
Mr. Sharma said the matter was now being looked into by the Defence Minister himself.
Pending with Customs
During the hearing, the HC also enquired from the Centre on the number of oxygen concentrators that are stuck at the customs. The High Court made the query after it was informed that Max Hospital has 3,000 concentrators lying in customs.
“People should not lose lives for this that there are resources but they are pending clearance. It should be released so that it can be used,” the court remarked.
The government has said that no such consignment is pending with Customs. Referring to a picture shared on social media about 3,000 oxygen concentrators stuck with the Customs, the Ministry has sought information from anybody in the know about where these concentrators are lying so that immediate action may be taken.
The HC also gave a stern warning to hospitals over reports of oxygen tankers being detained by a private hospital here and forcing the driver to deliver more than the allocated quantity.
‘Conduct not acceptable’
“This will not do. This will break the discipline. If everyone was to do this, the tankers will not reach you,” the High Court said taking strong exception to Batra Hospital seizing a oxygen tanker on Saturday.
Goyal Gas, which distributes oxygen to hospitals, had complained that its tanker which went to Batra Hospital was detained and driver was forced to deliver more than the allocated quantity. While 2.5 metric tonne was required to delivered, but the tanker was forced to deliver 4.2 metric tonne.
The High Court made it clear that it will not tolerate this sort of conduct from anyone in future.
The Centre also assured the High Court that it will honour the directions of the Supreme Court to ensure the oxygen supply deficit to the Capital is rectified before the midnight.
The submission came after the court asked what was being done about the Supreme Court’s directions.
The Centre further stated that six additional containers, each with a capacity of 20 metric tonnes of medical oxygen, are coming to the Capital.
Mr. Sharma said apart from a train carrying medical oxygen and some more tankers will be reaching Delhi tonight.
The Additional Solicitor General said that the Supreme Court has laid down the directions with regard to oxygen supply hence let the top court deal with the matter.
The HC, however, rejected the submission saying, “you cannot tell us that the Supreme Court has passed the order so the Supreme Court alone will deal with it. We all are duty bound to take steps”.