‘It’s a Mess’: Delhi HC Pulls up AAP Govt Over Oxygen Black Market

Delhi HC slammed the AAP govt, saying its system has failed since it couldn’t stop the oxygen black market.

Updated
India
3 min read
Oxygen cylinders in Delhi
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Even as the second wave of COVID-19 ravaged India, disrupting families and resulting in thousands of deaths on a daily basis, work continues for the revamp of Central Vista, a pet project of the Narendra Modi government worth an estimate of 200 billion rupees.

Delhi High Court, during its hearing on Tuesday, 27 April, pulled up the AAP government over black-marketing of medical resources, as the city battles a deadly wave of COVID-19.

The Court said people were forced to buy oxygen cylinders in the black market for lakhs of rupees while their original cost is only a few hundred rupees. The court said those persons indulging in black marketing of oxygen should be taken into police custody.

During the hearing, the High Court said if the Delhi government is unable to manage oxygen cylinders then they should tell the court for procuring them. The court will ask the Central government to take over the charge of managing oxygen.

Contempt Notices to Five Oxygen Refillers Absent During Hearing

The court issued contempt notices to the five oxygen refillers who were absent during the hearing on Tuesday. Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev informed the court that he has requested all oxygen refillers to furnish details of the tankers supplying oxygen in Delhi following which the quota of oxygen will be allocated for three days.

Dev said the oxygen quota has not yet been issued and will be done through an order. This information will be presented to the court. If there is a complaint filed by the hospitals, a provision will be made to resolve it.

Senior advocate Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, told the court that he would speak to the authorities and the oxygen supply would be ensured at Venkateshwar hospital in Delhi.

‘Your System Has Broken’

Slamming the Delhi government, the court said, "Non-accounting of oxygen cylinder supplies by Delhi government is leading to artificial shortage of gas and black marketing."

"This is a mess that you have been unable to resolve," the court told the AAP government over black marketing of oxygen cylinders.

The court suggested the appointment of accounting officials to the Delhi government. The court's order came after it was told by the Delhi Heart and Lung Institute that they, too, were facing lack of oxygen and the nodal officials concerned were helpless.

The High Court rebuked the Delhi government, saying its system had failed because of which black marketing of oxygen was going on in the city.

It also ordered the Delhi government to take over the plant of one oxygen refiller for not supplying gas to hospitals and allegedly giving them in the black market.

The court also directed the AAP government to take account of stock, sale of COVID-19 medicines, Remdisivir, Fabiflu, and Tocilizumab at hospitals' pharmacies.

‘On What Basis Are You Allocating Remdesivir to Delhi?’: HC to Centre

The High Court asked the Centre on what basis it was deciding how much Remdesivir has to be allocated to Delhi. It also asked the Centre, ICMR, and Drug Controller General whether there is any change in guideline regarding administration of Remdesivir.

"We have exported millions of vials of Remdesivir but don't have enough to cater to our patients," the High Court, which is hearing petitions on shortage of medical supplies, asked the Centre and the Delhi government.

The court suggested that the Delhi government get information from all hospitals and pharmacies on the supply of Remdesivir and other medicines.

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