Updated: April 22, 2021 2:23:12 pm
The Delhi government is looking to transport oxygen from Odisha to Delhi by air to cut travel time, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said on Thursday.
Hospitals in the city, treating hundreds of Covid patients, have only a few hours’ worth of oxygen in storage.
The Centre had on Wednesday increased Delhi’s oxygen allocation from 378 metric tonnes to 489 metric tonnes. The state government had asked that the allocation be increased to 700 MT.
Kejriwal said that a large amount of oxygen is being transported from Odisha, but it has been time consuming due to the distance.
“A lot of the increased quota is coming from Odisha. This will take time to reach Delhi. In the meanwhile, we are attempting to transport it by air,” the Chief Minister said in a web address.
A few minutes later, Kejriwal tweeted thanking Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for assuring him of help. “Received a call from Shri 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 special officer on the job. Thank you so much, sir. Delhi is indeed grateful,” the tweet read.
Kejriwal also thanked the Centre and the Delhi High Court for reacting to pleas by the government and hospitals and increasing Delhi’s medical oxygen supply.
“We are very grateful to the Centre for their help in increasing Delhi’s allocation. We still need more oxygen, but this increase will also help… It is the Centre that decides which companies will provide the state’s quota of oxygen, Delhi does not have any plants… The problem is that the state governments where these plants are located have stopped companies from sending these trucks to Delhi… I remember when GTB Hospital was running out of oxygen, we spoke to a Union minister and he helped get the truck to Delhi. We are very thankful,” he said.
Haryana health minister Anil Vij had accused Delhi government of stealing the state’s oxygen and has now ordered the police to accompany tankers to their destinations.
Dr Sangita Reddy, joint managing director, Apollo Hospitals also tweeted this morning that tankers meant to supply oxygen in places outside Haryana were not being allowed to enter the premises of a plant in Panipat.
Kejriwal replied to her tweet and said: “I urge the central government and Government of Haryana to kindly facilitate smooth passage to oxygen vehicles.”
In the afternoon, Kejriwal tweeted that he had spoken to the Haryana Chief Minister as well.
“I spoke to Hon’ble CM of Haryana Sh Manohar Lal Khattar ji. Sought his support in facilitating transport of oxygen trucks from Haryana to Delhi. He has assured full support.”
The Delhi Chief Minister also appealed to all state governments to unitedly fight Covid and said whenever Delhi will have surplus oxygen, medicines, or doctors and healthcare staff, they will reach out to other states to offer help
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