New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre over the issue of shortage of oxygen supply in Delhi and ordered it to increase the national capital's quota of O2 supply to 700 MT "by whatever means". 

“You can put your head in sand like an ostrich, we will not” the high court said. "Are you living in ivory towers?"

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also rejected the Centre's submission that Delhi was not entitled to 700 metric tonnes of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure.

"We see grim reality everyday of people not able to secure oxygen or ICU beds in hospitals” which have reduced beds due to gas shortage, it said.

The high court directed two senior central government officers to be present before it on Wednesday to respond to the notice.

It said the Supreme Court's April 30 detailed order shows direction to the central government to provide 700 MT of oxygen per day to Delhi, not just 490 MT.

It further said that the Supreme Court has already directed and now the high court is also saying that the Centre will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away by whatever means.

As Delhi continues to witness an unprecedented spike in COVID-19 cases and deaths in the ongoing second wave of coronavirus, several hospitals in the national capital have been struggling with shortage of oxygen supply which has allegedly led to several deaths, including 21 at Jaipur Golden Hospital last month. 

News agency PTI on Monday quoted sources in Delhi government saying that the national capital's oxygen supply stood at around 447 MT, significantly less than the Centre's allocated quantity of 590 MT.

The supply rose erratically since April 28, when it was 431 MT, to 447 MT on May 2, but the demand has gone beyond over 900 MT per day, a source in the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government said.

In view of Delhi's growing caseload, the Centre recently raised the city's daily oxygen quota from 378 MT to 480 MT, then to 490 MT and finally, to 590 MT. However, the Delhi government that had earlier demanded 700 MT of oxygen per day also increased its demand to 976 MT. 

Posted By: Abhinav Gupta