Making efforts to airlift oxygen from Odisha: Kejriwal

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New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) The Delhi government is making efforts to airlift its enhanced quota of oxygen supply from Odisha, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday, as several city hospitals reported shortage of oxygen amid rising cases of coronavirus.

Kejriwal thanked the Centre and the high court for their efforts towards raising Delhi's oxygen quota for treating COVID 19 patients, and said supplies have started reaching the national capital.

He also urged the Central government and Haryana government to facilitate 'smooth passage' to vehicles carrying medical oxygen to Delhi.

A major chunk of the freshly allotted quota of oxygen to Delhi comes from Odisha, which is hundreds of kilometres away, and the Delhi government is planning to airlift it to save time at this critical juncture in the fight against coronavirus, Kejriwal said in an online media briefing.

Later, the chief minister received a call from his Odisha counterpart Naveen Patnaik, assuring complete support to Delhi government in lifting oxygen.

'Recd a call from Sh Naveen Patnaik ji. He has assured complete support to Delhi in facilitating lifting of Delhi's quota of oxygen from Orissa. He has put a spl officer on the job. Thank u sooo much Sir. Delhi is indeed grateful,' Kejriwal tweeted.

Kejriwal also spoke to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and sought his help in facilitating transport of oxygen trucks from the neighbouring state to Delhi, and claimed he assured 'full support'.

He said Delhi had a daily quota of 378 MT of medical oxygen that has been increased to 480 MT, and thanked the Central government for it. But, he said, more supplies are needed as according to estimates Delhi needs 700 MT of oxygen daily.

Delhi received its quota of oxygen as fixed by the Centre from other states, he said, but claimed, some states stopped trucks headed to the national capital.

'This is not fair. This is a huge calamity and we need to fight it unitedly. If we are divided, India will not survive,' Kejriwal said.

He appealed to state governments to help each other and promised to provide them surplus oxygen, medicines and doctors if the COVID-19 situation came under control in Delhi. The newly increased quota of oxygen is going to be supplied primarily from Odisha and the Delhi government is trying its best to airlift oxygen from the state to cut down on the time in its transportation, Kejriwal said.

With the rise in coronavirus cases in the country, demands for oxygen cylinders, medicines and vaccination has increased and its shortage is being felt, he said. 'We, in Delhi, have also faced an acute shortage of oxygen cylinders. The Delhi government has spent a number of sleepless nights trying to arrange oxygen in hospitals and other COVID care centres to try and ensure that no patient suffers due to lack of it.' The problem that has arisen is that the states in which these oxygen manufacturers are based are not allowing oxygen cylinders to come to Delhi, he claimed.

'They say they want to use the oxygen in their own states. Trucks supplying oxygen are being stopped. We are thankful to the Central government and the Delhi High Court who have aided us in this situation. Trucks have slowly started reaching Delhi,' he said. 'This is a collective crisis. If we decide to split ourselves into Haryana, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, West Bengal, India will not survive. We need to come together and unite as Indians and as human beings,' Kejriwal appealed.

He said people in these troubled times want to see and hear states helping each other and not fighting over resources.

The country cannot afford to get divided into states at this point, he said, appealing state governments to come together to work and increase resources and manpower to overcome the crisis.

'We need to show the world what good and efficient governance looks like. We will show the world how, despite having the largest number of coronavirus cases in the world, we were able to defeat the virus by coming together,' the CM added.

As per official sources, many private and Delhi government hospitals were running low of oxygen on Thursday afternoon with some having supplies to last for 3-4 hours only. PTI VIT/GJS TDS TDS