2 Hrs of Oxygen Left: Delhi Hosps Choke as Haryana, UP Ban Supply

According to media reports, guards have been placed outside oxygen plants in UP to check movement of cylinders. 

5 min read
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"We have 2 hours of oxygen left, please help," read a message from a 300 bed St Stephen's hospital in Delhi.

"2-3 hours of oxygen in stock," read a plea by Irene Hospital in Delhi's Kalkaji area.

"Over 325 patients will be left without oxygen if the supply is stopped!" said Holy Family Hospital.

Assistant Director at St Stephens Hospital, Dr John Punnooses had also iterated that there was an ‘emergency’ at the hospital. “We get regular supply from Linde oxygen supplier. At 1:30 pm today, they informed that since the plant in Faridabad (Haryana) is getting sealed, they won't be able to supply oxygen to us,” ANI reported.

All three depended upon medical oxygen Linde India Ltd. Sources had said that the plant was blocked from sending oxygen out to Delhi hospitals.

Life-saving oxygen was stuck at Delhi's Haryana border just a few kilometers away as patients faced a catastrophe.

Delhi's other neighbour Uttar Pradesh is not being helpful either.

After a Delhi High Court slammed the Centre on oxygen shortage issues in the country on Monday, 19 April, in a bizarre turn of events, the Uttar Pradesh government has now stationed guards and officers outside Greater Noida’s Inox Air Products Pvt Ltd and Haryana.

A plant from Faridabad, Linde India commenced supply of oxygen on Wednesday, after several hospitals in Delhi issued emergency calls that they were running out of their oxygen reserves.

According to a News18 report, the Gautam Buddha Nagar District Magistrate Suhas LY on Tuesday, 19 April, issued orders posting two senior officers round-the-clock at the Inox oxygen factor to check the movement of oxygen cylinders.

According to PTI, which reviewed the order, one officer has been posted at the factory from 8 am to 8 pm and another for 12 hours beginning 8 in the evening, according to the order reviewed by PTI.

“The officers, of the rank of deputy district officer, will be present at the company site during the allotted hours and ensure adequate supply of oxygen to COVID-19 hospitals,” according to the order by district magistrate Suhas LY.

Why the Security Measure by UP Govt?

The Delhi High Court on 19 April, had directed oxygen firm Inox to honour its contract with the Delhi government and hospitals in the national capital.

This came after the Arvind Kejriwal-led government approached the HC over the diversion of oxygen to other states by Inox.

“We direct Inox to honour its contract with GNCTD and hospitals in Delhi and continue to supply oxygen and restore 140 metric tonne supply immediately, which shall in turn be supplied to needy hospitals in Delhi,” the court said on Monday, according to Bar & Bench.

However, Uttar Pradesh is allegedly facing an oxygen shortage due to the Delhi government taking extra oxygen cylinders from Inox, reported NDTV, quoting sources in UP government.

"Inox is supplying oxygen to maximum hospitals of Uttar Pradesh… extra supply of oxygen to Delhi will create problems in Uttar Pradesh," an official reportedly said.

‘Delhi Govt Looted Oxygen Tanker’: Haryana Health Minister

In an interview with ANI on 21 April, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said that one of the oxygen tankers plying to Faridabad was looted by the Delhi government.

“We are being forced to give our oxygen to Delhi. First, we’ll complete our needs, then give others. Yesterday, one of our oxygen tankers was looted by the Delhi government that was going to Faridabad. From now, I’ve ordered police protection for all tankers.”
Anil Vij, Haryana Health Minister

Delhi Hospitals Concerned as Haryana Stops Oxygen Supply

Sources told The Quint that the Haryana government had stopped Linde India Limited, an oxygen manufacturer and supplier, from suppling oxygen cylinders outside the state.

The Quint also spoke to hospitals who are supplied by Linde India for their oxygen needs. According to the Dr Sumit Ray, Medical Superintendent, Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi, which is a COVID hospital, they have very limited supply of oxygen left.

“If this is true, it is devastating. Nearly 325 of the 375 patients of COVID are either on high oxygen or ventilators. Many of them will die if we do not get oxygen on time.”
Dr Sumit Ray, Medical Superintendent, Holy Family Hospital in New Delhi

Stephens Hospital, one of the capital’s oldest and largest hospitals, with a 300 bed capacity, is on its last legs of oxygen. Sources told The Quint that the hospital only had two hours of oxygen left.

Irene Hospital in Delhi’s Kalkaji, a 55 multi-speciality hospital, also has only 2-3 hours of oxygen left since their oxygen provider is based in Haryana and the government is restricting the stocks at the border.

Only five hours of oxygen was left at Delhi’s Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, it was earlier reported on Wednesday. Ganga Ram currently has 58 COVID-19 positive patients admitted, including 10 in the intensive care unit (ICU), reported ANI. 35 patients await admission to the hospital.

Finally, at 6 pm, Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital received 45 cylinders of oxygen, ANI reported.

Sources at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital Delhi told The Quint that the hospital only has “10-12 hours of supply available for all its patients, with no alternatives”.

“The continuation of this disrupted or delayed supply will have serious ramifications for our patients, especially the over 350 oxygen-dependent COVID-19 patients,” the hospital stated.

On late Wednesday evening, Max Group of Hospitals released a press statement detailing the hours of oxygen supply left at its hospitals across the capital. According to the statement, all hospitals have less than 24 hours of supply left, with some just having 2-3 hours of oxygen left.

“We urgently appeal to the state and the central government to help us procure adequate supplies of oxygen immediately to avert an imminent crisis,” the statement read.


Oxygen an Emergency, Says Kejriwal; Centre Subsequently Increases Delhi’s Quota

After hospitals in the national capital teetered on the brink of a disaster amid a health emergency, the Central government on Wednesday, increased Delhi’s quota of oxygen, CM Kejriwal informed.

On Sunday, 18 April, Kejriwal had taken to Twitter to claim that Delhi’s oxygen supply was being diverted by the Centre to other states while the national capital itself faced an acute shortage.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Wednesday, 21 April, sent out an SOS to the Centre, requesting it to ensure that the quota of oxygen allocated to the Delhi government is supplied so that hospitals do not suffer.

In a live press conference on Wednesday, he stated that “I have received reports that oxygen supply from a plant in Faridabad is being restricted by a Haryana government official. I urged the Centre to ensure that the quota of oxygen cylinders allocated to states is provided.”

“I have visited hospitals in Delhi and we have almost 18,000 patients in the capital at the moment. We have patients from other states, including Uttar Pradesh, as well. This is not a problem being faced only by the people of Delhi,” he added.

Hospitals across the capital have been facing oxygen shortages. According to an NDTV report on 20 April, Max Group Hospital and Gangaram Hospital have between 6-12 hours of oxygen left.

Delhi’s Health Minister Satyendar Jain also urged Railways Minister Piyush Goyal to “restore oxygen supply chain to avert a major crisis” as he informed of an “acute shortage of oxygen at GTB Hospital” on Twitter. He added, “Oxygen may not last beyond four hours. More than 500 corona patients are on oxygen.”

Less than 30 minutes before Delhi’s GTB Hospital was to run out of oxygen supply for over 500 COVID positive patients, an oxygen tanker from Inox arrived at the hospital. GTB hospital was expected to exhaust its oxygen supply used for treatment of COVID patients by 2 am on Tuesday night, 20 March.

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