Sisodia says Haryana official blocked oxygen supply; state govt rejects charge

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New Delhi/Chandigarh, Apr 21 (PTI) Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia accused the Haryana government on Wednesday of blocking medical oxygen supply to Delhi, where several hospitals scrambled to save lives of coronavirus patients amid its shortage for the second consecutive day.

The Haryana government vehemently refuted the allegations, underlining that no one in the administration had hampered anything.

Addressing a press conference, Sisodia said the AAP government had been demanding that the Centre increase Delhi's quota of oxygen from 378 metric tonnes to 700 metric tonnes.

The central government, which decides the quota of oxygen for states, is yet to take a step in this direction, the deputy chief minister said.

'We again demand that the Centre increase our oxygen quota to 700 MT in view of the increased consumption. Patients from several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, are admitted in city hospitals,' Sisodia said.

He claimed that an official of the Haryana government stopped oxygen supply from a plant in Faridabad.

Sisodia said a similar incident occurred in Uttar Pradesh a day ago and it led to a crisis in some hospitals, adding the oxygen supply had been restored now. He demanded that states should get their allotted share of oxygen without others interfering into it.

Reacting to it, Haryana Chief Secretary Vijai Vardhan told PTI: 'No supply has been stopped to Delhi. This is not true.' Earlier in the day, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij alleged that a tanker carrying medical oxygen for COVID patients in hospitals, which was going from Panipat to Faridabad, was 'looted' by the Delhi government and said all oxygen tankers will now move with police escort.

In a statement, the Delhi government said: 'It's indeed unfortunate that states like Haryana and Uttar Pradesh are curtailing the supply of live-saving oxygen to Delhi.' 'Just as the Haryana government, the Uttar Pradesh government has illegally captured the oxygen production plants, depriving Delhi of oxygen,' it said. 'What's worse is that they're indulging in this insensitive act despite clear orders from the high court.' Several hospitals in Delhi alleged that the Haryana government was not allowing vendors to supply oxygen to them and there was only limited stock left as hundreds of coronavirus patients battled for their life in these facilities.

'The vendor, as per its representative, is not being allowed by the Haryana government to supply oxygen cylinders and liquid oxygen to Sir Ganga Ram City Hospital, Pusa Road. Supply left is sufficient only for five hours,' the official said.

A spokesperson of St Stephen's Hospital said: 'The Haryana government has not been allowing our vendor to supply oxygen to us. Of the 350 patients in the hospital, around 200 are on oxygen support,' he alleged.

Manipal Hospitals CEO said Pramod Alagharu their supplier was willing to supply oxygen from its Faridabad unit. 'However, an officer has taken control over the plant. We have only 12 hrs of supplies left,' he said.

Faridabad Deputy Commissioner Garima Mittal denied the allegations.

'There is absolutely nothing like that. Some storage tankers of the company were reaching Faridabad plant from Meerut and once they reach as usual, they will fill and supply,' Mittal told PTI.

From the Faridabad plant, the supplies go to 32 hospitals, out of which 25 are in Delhi, Vardhan said, adding that the supply would reach in routine.

Some major government and private hospitals in Delhi received a fresh stock of medical oxygen in the early hours of Wednesday, averting a crisis just in time, according to officials.

This stock should last till 9 am on Thursday, an official said.

Delhi reported a record 28,395 coronavirus cases and 277 deaths on Tuesday, with the positivity rate shooting up to 32.82 per cent -- meaning every third sample came out positive. PTI GVS/SUN NSD HMB