Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday wrote to his counterparts in other states and Union territories requesting them to send the surplus of oxygen they may have to the Capital as the city faces acute shortage to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients.
"I am writing to all CMs requesting them to provide oxygen to Delhi, if they have spare. Though Central govt. is also helping us, the severity of corona is such that all available resources are proving inadequate," he wrote on Twitter.
The Delhi chief minister asked his counterparts from other states and UTs if they could provide the national capital with any oxygen, along with tankers, from their state or any organisation in their state, his office said in a statement. "He also wrote that due to the severe rise in COVID cases in the last few days, many Delhi hospitals had run out of oxygen," it added.
He informed the states that Delhi does not produce any oxygen and due to the unprecedented rise in Covid-19 cases in the last few days, many hospitals in the city have run out of the critical element. "Daily supplies of oxygen to Delhi are woefully short of our requirements," he claimed.
Arvind Kejriwal's plea comes on a day when as many as 20 patients at a hospital in Delhi's Rohini died due to a shortage of oxygen and several others approved the high court informing about similar challenges.
"We lost 20 patients almost all of whom were in critical care unit and on a high flow of oxygen. Our liquid medical oxygen was over by about 10 pm and then we switched over to the oxygen cylinders attached to the main gas pipeline. There was a drop in pressure and the patients could not survive," said Dr Deep Baluja, medical director of the Jaipur Golden Hospital in Rohini.
As hospitals reached the high court seeking its immediate intervention to save the lives of Covid-19 patients as their oxygen stock would last for 30 minutes to a couple of hours, the bench headed by justice Vipin Sanghi and justice Rekha Palli rapped the Delhi government for lacking action in arranging tankers for the transportation of liquid oxygen. "The problem is you think allocation is done so everything will be served at your doorstep but that's not how it works. After allocation have you made any effort for the tankers to collect oxygen?" the court asked.
Kejriwal has already broached the issue of oxygen shortage with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who met the chief ministers of 11 worst-affected states and UTs on Friday. Kejriwal told PM Modi that the shortage of oxygen could lead to a "big tragedy", and requested him to order states to not obstruct the passage of tankers. He, however, was criticised by Modi for publicly broadcasting the closed-door meeting.
Delhi has been reporting an extreme shortage of oxygen for patients with scores of citizens and city hospitals taking to social media platforms seeking oxygen cylinders for Covid-19 positive patients both in hospitals as well as home isolation.