April 19, 2021 6:23:10 pm
The Delhi High Court on Monday directed Centre to look into the demand of Delhi government for daily supply of 700 metric tonnes of oxygen on urgent basis today itself and also directed INOX, which has existing contracts for oxygen with hospitals in Delhi, to immediately restore the supply of 140 MTs of oxygen for onward supply to the hospitals in national capital.
The division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also said the the Centre should examine the supply of oxygen in different states of the country and the need there “so that oxygen could be diverted/made available to the areas where it is required” considering the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, representing Delhi government, told the court that Centre has issued an order for supply of 300 MTs of oxygen to Delhi hospital on a daily basis starting April 20 but the requirement is 700 MTs in the national capital in wake of the surge in COVID-19 cases. The court was also told that INOX, which supplies oxygen to most of the hospitals in Delhi, have suddenly stopped the supply to Delhi as the same has been diverted to the “largest state of India”. Shortage of oxygen may result in deep crisis and lives may be lost due to such shortage, Mehra told the court.
The division bench also said that one of the lessons learnt from lockdown 2020 is with regard to the plight of migrant labourers, and with the imposition of curfew, daily wagers and their families are again faced with a grim reality.
“On the last occasion, civil society had come forward and provided food and other necessities to large section of them. State (Delhi government) failed to utilise thousands of crores lying in its account under The Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act, 1996,” said the court.
It directed the Delhi government to draw, if necessary, from that account and provide food to needy daily wagers on their respective worksites. Delhi should utilize the contractors engaged for mid-day meal kitchens for the aforesaid purpose since the schools are not operating now, said the court, adding, ths state Chief Secretary shall ensure implementation of this direction without delay. The government has been asked by the court to inform it on Tuesday about the implementation.
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