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Oxygen Shortage : Hospitals Should First Approach GNCTD Nodal Officer, Says Delhi High Court

Shreya Agarwal
23 April 2021 2:23 PM GMT
Oxygen Shortage : Hospitals Should First Approach GNCTD Nodal Officer, Says Delhi High Court
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With two more hospitals moving the Delhi High Court for medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients citing shortage, the court today directed that the hospitals and nursing homes must exercise the option of approaching the Nodal Officer of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, before approaching the court - even as the Delhi Government alleged that red tapeism was being practiced by...

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With two more hospitals moving the Delhi High Court for medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients citing shortage, the court today directed that the hospitals and nursing homes must exercise the option of approaching the Nodal Officer of the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi, before approaching the court - even as the Delhi Government alleged that red tapeism was being practiced by the Central Government in dealing with the issue.

However, the court has requested for instructions to be issued in respect of these two hospitals.
The court passed the order in an urgent hearing of pleas moved by the Batra Hospital and Medical Research Centre and Brahm Healthcare.
The matter was being heard by the Bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, who were informed by the centre on the issue that "a system" was already put in place by them for the problem, and that the same could be utilized by those facing any shortage. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta appearing for the Centre denied the allegations of red tapeism leveled by Sr. Adv. Rahul Mehra appearing for the AAP-led Delhi Government.
Mehta submitted to the court that, "The Home Secretary is in touch with every Chief Secretary on Whatsapp. There is no red tape-ism."
Mehra informed the Court that although allocation had been done of oxygen for Delhi hospitals, the government was facing logistical problems including those of transportation which was delaying supply of oxygen despite allocation.
He said, "In 3-4 days we will start getting oxygen from West Bengal and Odisha."
Earlier, the court was also intimated that some oxygen supply tankers were held up by local authorities in Haryana, who were not allowing transportation to Delhi.
Responding Mehta said that, "The Hon'ble Prime Minister has impressed upon all the Chief Ministers to ensure that supply of oxygen is uninterrupted."
He elaborated that, "There is a system in place by Central Government. There is a Nodal Officer appointed by Delhi and every other state government also."
Saying that "various Secretary level people are already involved in the matter", he added that the government has already given the name, number and details of the Nodal Officer to the concerned authorities.
Upon the request of Sr. Adv. Mehra, the court has also added details of the concerned officers in its order.
Citing the huge demand by hospitals and nursing homes, the court also said that the Delhi Government may have more officers dealing with the issue.
Adv Priyadarshi Manish appearing for one of the hospitals submitted that the Nodal Officer "is not responding to the phone call. I've been aware of this number since Apr 22. The ground reality is totally different."
Justice Sanghi said to this, "Not just one number, there may be circulated 3 or 4 more numbers."
Mehra stressed that there has been a deficit of 100 MT of oxygen allocated but not supplied to Delhi, adding up everyday. Therefore, he made requests for allocation from nearby-Dehradun.
Mehta again redirected this request to the concerned officers, stating that, "Every decision is dynamic. Nothing is cast in stone."
He said, "It appears to be a good decision but instead of my responding let some responsible officer be approached."
Responding, Mehra argued, "I'm glad that the suggestion seems good but the allocation is being done by the Empowered Group, not at the lower level."
The court then directed the Delhi Government to approach the Empowered Group with the reallocation suggestion.
The court has noted that the Chief Secretary, Delhi Government would be making a re-allocation plan which would be sent to the concerned officials of the Centre, and directed that it may place it before the Centre and the committee without any delay. The Empowered Group is directed to examine it at the earliest.
Further, the Court has also suggested usage of CNG cylinders for interim arrangement, in the shortage of cryogenic tanks, and directed the centre to examine this aspect and its feasibility.
Lastly, the Court also sought to know about installation of oxygen generators, and pointed out that all aspects ruled about so far on these cases must be covered and compliances must be submitted to them in a tabulated format.
The case is now listed for Apr 26.

Click here to read/download the order




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