New Delhi: The supply of medical oxygen has become a bone of contention between Delhi and Uttar Pradesh as the second wave Covid sweeps through the country, leaving the healthcare system in many states swamped. Officials in Uttar Pradesh have denied Delhi’s accusation of blocking oxygen supplies, saying their hospitals are suffering as Delhi took more than its share of oxygen last night from key supplier INOX. Now Haryana has joined battle, ordering police protection for its oxygen tankers, alleging ‘loot’ by Delhi.
“We are being forced to give our oxygen to Delhi. First, we’ll complete our needs, then give to others. Yesterday, one of our oxygen tankers that was going to Faridabad was looted by Delhi government. From now, I’ve ordered police protection for all tankers,” Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij said.
An official in Uttar Pradesh said several hospitals of the state are facing severe oxygen crisis and “Chief Minster Yogi Adityanath has spoken to Union minister Piyush Goyal regarding this”.
“INOX is supplying oxygen to maximum hospitals of Uttar Pradesh… extra supply of oxygen to Delhi will create problem in Uttar Pradesh,” the official said.
At least three key hospitals in Delhi was down to just hours’ supply of oxygen last evening as the capital grappled with an exponential rise in Covid cases. Since afternoon, the Delhi government had made frantic appeals to the Centre for help.
The GTB hospital had just four hours’ supply, Delhi Health Minister Satyendra Jain tweeted late last evening. Max hospital and Ganga Ram hospitals had flagged their shortage just a few hours earlier. Doctors had harrowing experiences of the night to relate till fresh supplies arrived around dawn.
The Delhi government had earlier claimed that INOX, the main vendor for the state’s hospitals, was moving its quota to Uttar Pradesh.
At a hearing in the Delhi High Court yesterday, Delhi claimed that the Yogi Adityanath government was also blocking supplies to Delhi from Uttar Pradesh-based oxygen plants.
The sources denied that Uttar Pradesh government interfered with oxygen supply in Delhi, saying the allocation of medical oxygen is done by the Central government.
“The allegations of the Delhi government are baseless. The UP government has no say regarding supply from INOX oxygen plant,” an official said.