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Delhi HC warns against complacency on Covid situation, pulls up Centre on oxygen reserve status report

The court asked the Centre to file a specific report in this regard by Monday.

Written by Sofi Ahsan | New Delhi |
May 20, 2021 10:05:38 pm
Relatives of Covid-19 patients queue up to refill oxygen cylinders in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

The Delhi High Court on Thursday said that the mere reduction in number of COVID-19 cases should not make the authorities complacent when there is every likelihood of the pandemic raising its “ugly head” again.

“It is the duty of the Union of India as well the GNCTD to ensure that they are not again caught underprepared to deal with the situation which may arise,” said the division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Jasmeet Singh, while hearing the issue related to creating a buffer stock of 100 MTs liquid medical oxygen (LMO) in Delhi.

Pulling up the Centre for not disclosing in its status report the steps taken to fulfill its obligation with regard to creation of the reserve, the court said the responsibility of setting up the buffer stock has been primarily cast upon the central government, and also the Delhi government by the Supreme Court in its order of April 30. The court asked the Centre to file a specific report in this regard by Monday.

While rejecting the Centre’s request for one week’s time, the court said, “You have to tell us what steps you have taken. If you have not taken steps, we are again to chase you on this, so we can’t give you Wednesday. Please don’t take it lightly. We are again warning you on this”.The Delhi government told the court that it is currently holding 419.46 MTs of LMO at different locations as a reserve and that it would be creating a facility to hold about 98 MTs within Delhi in the next 10 days. Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra told the court that the state would be installing around 250 MTs of capacity in Delhi and then buffer stock will be shifted within the limits of the national capital.

The court told the Centre that, “most of the things are being done by the state government. This is something that you have to do and we are not going to leave this even if the situation is improving because we know it is only temporary. It is going to come back and hit us very badly again. Let us be clear about it. There can be no complacency on this”.

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