Delhi’s Oxygen Crisis: What’s Triggering It and What Can Help Now

Why is the capital facing such a terrible oxygen crisis?

2 min read

Delhi's COVID hospitals have been gasping for oxygen. Some have enough to last three hours, some have two hours, and some even less than that.

As Delhi reports 24,638 new cases and 249 deaths on 22 April, unequal demand and supply of oxygen has made this a coveted medical essential. Although there hasn't been any large-scale disaster so far, due to last minute interventions, the city is standing on the very edge of this crisis, with more and more Delhi hospitals running low on oxygen everyday.

On 21 April, for instance, state Health Minister Satyendra Jain had to appeal to the Centre on Twitter, to help with oxygen provisions, claiming that GTB hospital had only a few hours' worth of supply left. The arrival of an oxygen tanker just at the nick of time averted a crisis.

The same day in Ganga Ram Hospital, where 120 patients on ICU beds was running out of oxygen, a last-minute supply of oxygen prevented this crisis from spiralling out of control.


What has also been choking the supply in the city is the politics around oxygen between states in the crisis. While the Delhi government has claimed that oxygen tankers coming into the city were blocked, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij on 21 April counter-accused Delhi of "looting" the state's oxygen supply.

But it's only after the Delhi High court took up an urgent hearing on 21 April, and directed the Centre to ensure oxygen supply, did the MHA put out an order on 22 April, saying that no restriction can be imposed on movement of oxygen between states.

Why is the capital facing such a terrible oxygen crisis? What strategies have been implemented for oxygen supply to meet the current high demand? For this podcast we spoke to Mr Subhas Chander, a manufacturer of medical gases including oxygen and Mr Anant Bhan, who's a Public Health Expert. Tune in!

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