Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal told Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday that “a big tragedy” can happen if quick steps are not taken to address the shortage of oxygen in Delhi’s hospitals.
In an appeal made during a virtual meeting called by Modi with Chief Ministers of 10 states worst affected by the second Covid-19 surge, Kejriwal told the PM: “I want your guidance.”
“There are only a few states from where oxygen is supplied to Delhi and where most problems are being noted. I request that if you call the chief Ministers of those states once, and ask them to not stop our oxygen trucks, then people of Delhi will get oxygen. For 2 crore people of Delhi, I am requesting you with folded hands. You can help us. Please help us,” the CM said.
Kejriwal said a national plan should be made to save the country from Covid-19, in which the central government should take over all oxygen plants with the help of the Army.
He said if the Army escorts oxygen trucks, then no one would stop them. He also thanked the PM for increasing Delhi’s oxygen quota, but said the capital was facing difficulty in getting 100 tonnes of oxygen that was supposed to come to Delhi from Odisha and West Bengal.
Kejriwal asked the PM to either airlift this oxygen consignment to Delhi or to make it available “through your idea of oxygen express trains”.
When the PM told him that the oxygen express trains were already running, Kejriwal said they were not reaching Delhi. “If a corridor can be made available for Delhi then we will be very thankful to you. You have done it in 2-3 places through your intervention, I have learned,” the CM said.
Kejriwal’s appeal comes at a time with Aam Aadmi Party leaders, including Deputy Delhi CM Manish Sisodia, having accused the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh governments of blocking the transport of oxygen to Delhi by use of police force.
Kejriwal also told the PM that his phone keeps ringing as hospitals reach out to him, stating that they have 3 or 2 hours of oxygen left, because trucks carrying oxygen meant for them have been stopped.
He said central ministers were helping them earlier but now they too are tired. “If Delhi does not have an oxygen factory, will 2 crore people of Delhi not get oxygen? States that have oxygen factories, can they stop Delhi’s oxygen? We thank you for calling this meeting. I want to know that if today or tomorrow, or at any time, a hospital in Delhi has 1 or 2 hours of oxygen left, and there’s a risk of people dying, then whom should I make a call to in the Central government for help? If a state stops Delhi’s quota of oxygen, then who should I speak to on the phone?” Kejriwal asked the PM.
He said the situation is very serious, and people can’t be left to die. “We again appeal to you with folded hands that if some quick and meaningful steps are not taken, then there can be a big tragedy in Delhi. I want your guidance… It is unbearable to see the situation in hospitals due to shortage of oxygen. People are in a lot of trouble. We can’t sleep all night. Despite being their CM, I am not able to do anything. I feel scared that some big incident should not happen because of shortage of oxygen. We won’t be able to forgive ourselves if some anhoni (untoward incident) happens because of shortage of oxygen,” Kejriwal told the PM.