New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kewjriwal on Tuesday raised alarm on the shortage of oxygen in hospitals of the national capital as he requested the Centre to urgently supply oxygen. This comes amid reports that two of the biggest hospitals - Max Hospital and Ganga Ram - have oxygen supplies which will last for just a few hours. 

He also wrote to Union Minister of Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal, seeking his intervention in the matter. On Sunday, the chief minister termed the shortage of oxygen for coronavirus patients an "emergency".

"Serious oxygen crisis persists in Delhi. I again urge the Centre to urgently provide oxygen to Delhi. Some hospitals are left with just a few hours of oxygen," the chief minister tweeted.

The Delhi government had on Monday set up a 24-member committee to ensure "rational" use of oxygen for treatment of COVID-19 patients. An order issued by the Health Department said the 'Oxygen Audit Committee' will identify areas of wasteful consumption.

The consumption of oxygen has undergone a quantum increase with the admission of a large number of serious patients who require oxygen support, it said.

Kejriwal rang alarms on the acute shortage of oxygen soon after Delhi High Court rapped the Centre over the shortage of oxygen cylinders in hospitals. 

The court cited the example of a central government counsel whose father was admitted in hospital and was on oxygen support, but due its scarcity, oxygen was being provided at a reduced pressure to him to conserve it. "Can you ask him to hold on till April 22," the court asked.

It said if nothing was done, then "we are heading for a bigger disaster". "We might end up losing nearly a crore of people. Are we willing to accept that," the bench said.

It also suggested increasing the COVID beds in hospitals which have their own oxygen generating capacity.

The observations by the bench came after perusing the Centre's affidavit which said there was presently no gap in oxygen supply to Delhi and that industrial use of oxygen was banned with effect from April 22.

The Ministry of Health, represented by Additional Solicitor General Chetan Sharma, told the high court that there has been an inordinate increase of 133 per cent in the projected medical oxygen required, as on April 20, between the initial estimate of 300 metric tonnes and revised estimate of 700 metric tonnes submitted by Delhi.

The ministry said all the States, including Delhi, have to rationalize the use of oxygen and prohibit abnormal usage and administering oxygen to the patients who do not clinically require the same.

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta