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At a time when hospitals in Delhi and neighbouring Haryana are choking due to a huge inflow of serious COVID-19 patients and lack of medical oxygen supply, the Delhi and Haryana governments indulged in a blame-game over the supply of the life-saving gas.
The Delhi government, which repeatedly urged the Centre to enhance supply, has blamed the Uttar Pradesh government for curbing supply. On the other hand, Haryana yesterday accused Delhi of stealing oxygen from a tanker. Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij’s statement came after a report that some tankers were stopped by certain people in Delhi yesterday.
Anil Vij said the tanker was on its way to supply oxygen to hospitals in Faridabad. “I came to know that the tanker was stopped by certain people in Delhi yesterday, while it was on its way to Faridabad for distributing oxygen to certain hospitals. If the governments forcibly start stealing oxygen like this, it will lead to chaos. It is highly condemnable,” he said in a video.
He also ordered police protection for vehicles carrying oxygen. “We are being forced to give our oxygen to Delhi. First, we’ll complete our needs, then give to others. Yesterday, one of our Oxygen tankers was looted by Delhi Government that was going to Faridabad. From now, I’ve ordered police protection for all tankers,” said Vij.
Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia refuted the allegation terming it baseless. He said that since Delhi does not have any oxygen plant so the allegation of looting the cylinders is baseless. He accused the Haryana government of monopolising the production and distribution of oxygen. He claimed that the reason for a limited supply of oxygen in many hospitals in Delhi was a diversion of the oxygen earmarked for Delhi from a plant in Faridabad to hospitals in Haryana by an official from the Haryana government.
Sisodia said that when the Centre is deciding on the quota of oxygen for each state, then state governments should not come in between and hoard oxygen. “Similar ordeal took place yesterday in a plant near Modi Nagar (Ghaziabad) when we had to call a senior central government minister. It was only after his help that the oxygen supply reached Delhi,” he said.
Senior Delhi government officials yesterday claimed that Faridabad Deputy Commissioner Garima Mittal had stopped oxygen from one of the plants to Delhi. Mittal, however, denied the allegations: “We have not stopped any suppliers from providing oxygen to Delhi, or stopped any vehicles engaged in this. We have received no such orders.”
The Central government has already revised the Oxygen quota for states as hospitals raised the alarm over dwindling supplies unable to match the requirement. While Haryana will now get 107 metric tonnes of oxygen, that of Delhi has been increased to 480 metric tonnes from 378 metric tonnes earlier. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday expressed his gratitude to the Centre for increasing Delhi’s quota of oxygen.