A national task force set up by Supreme Court to monitor and audit medical oxygen supply has found that Delhi government exaggerated the oxygen requirement for the city by more than four times during the April 25-May 10 period, at the peak of the second COVID wave.
Several states had reported shortage of medical oxygen for patients, but none compared to the hysterical blame game played by Delhi government during the second wave crisis. With it’s selfish and juvenile approach, Delhi also endangered the lives of citizens in other states, by cornering more Oxygen than it needed.
India Today reporter Nalini Sharma shared the task forces’ findings on Twitter –
“BIG: National task force set up by the SC on the oxygen crisis finds that FOUR Delhi hospitals gave exaggerated data on O2 requirements. Consumption according to Delhi Govt was shown as 1140MT but after correcting the demand by the 4 hospitals, actual consumption was only 209MT.
Singhal Hospital, Aruna Asaf Ali Hospital, ESIC Model Hospital & Liferay Hospital have claimed extremely high consumption with very few beds. Their claims appear to be clearly erroneous leading to extremely skewed info & significantly higher O2 requirement for the entire State.
National Task Force on oxygen crisis finds: Consumption in 183 Delhi hospitals according to Delhi Govt = 1140 MT. Actual consumption by 183 Delhi hospitals = 209 MT. Requirement after applying Centre’s formula = 289 MT. Requirement after applying Delhi Govt’s formula = 391 MT”
So, Delhi’s AAP government was reporting consumption of O2 (1140 MT) in Delhi hospitals at almost 5.5x of the actual consumption (209 MT)! And when the experts calculated their maximum requirement as per the formula based on bed capacity (289 MT), that too came out four times higher than the actual consumption claimed by the Delhi government.
The task force/audit panel was led by AIIMS Director Dr Randeep Guleria, and included Delhi Government Principal Home Secretary Bhupinder Bhalla, Max Healthcare Director Dr. Sandeep Buddhiraja and Union Jal Shakti Ministry Joint Secretary Subodh Yadav.
The report added that supply of excess oxygen to Delhi affected supply to 12 other states in need of Oxygen due to high caseload. The Petroleum and Oxygen Safety Organization (PESO) told the sub-group that Delhi had surplus oxygen, which was affecting liquid medical oxygen (LMO) supply to other states and apprehended that if excess oxygen was kept supplied to Delhi, it could lead to a national crisis.
So the allotment that the Centre had calculated and provided to Delhi was more than adequate for its actual consumption, but still the Delhi govt. kept demanding more and more, and accused that its quota was being diverted to UP, or delivery from Oxygen plants in Haryana and other states was being purposely held up (those delays were caused by the Opposition-led ‘farmers protest’ that has logjammed Delhi’s borders and highways for months). What is worse, when more Oxygen was made available by the Centre, Delhi government failed in the basic logistics of distributing that Oxygen to hospitals.
Even before these audit team findings, it was clear that Delhi was massively inflating its Oxygen demand, even in comparison to metros of similar size like Mumbai. In mid-May, just when the center announced it would conduct an Oxygen audit, the Delhi govt. executed a U-turn and reduced its demand by 40% compared to what its demand was just 11 days back, even though caseload in that period had reduced by just 14%. Now, even that revised demand of 582 MT looks inflated.
During this entire saga, Delhi-based ‘national’ mainstream media acted as the AAP’s propaganda arm, presenting CM Kejriwal and AAP govt. as the ‘victim’ of the centre’s “vendetta politics”. Courts also played to the left-liberal galleries to the hilt. Falling for the hysteria created by the Delhi government and showing a distinct Delhi-bias, the Supreme Court on 5 May directed the Central government to maintain a supply of 700 MT of oxygen to the national capital.
Now that the facts have been laid bare, the question that needs to be asked is what was happening to the surplus oxygen? Was it being routed to the black market and some ‘charitable’ groups who milked the crisis to generate good PR through ‘Oxygen langars’ etc.? AAP’s own cabinet minister and MLA Imran Hussain was found hoarding oxygen cylinders to give away as ‘charity’ to his constituents; the Delhi HC giving him a questionable clean chit in the case.
It is now clear that the media and courts jumped to add fuel to fire, aiding and abetting Kejriwal’s antics, just because he is perceived to be a ‘secular and liberal’ politician taking on the might of a ‘communal and fascist’ central government.
Also, as the crisis was unfolding in Delhi, where judges and other members of our ruling elite live, there was an added urgency in the court proceeding and judicial orders were issued with dramatic rebukes to the centre and its officials. Our top court’s apathy to a far greater humanitarian disaster, the post-poll pogrom that has ravaged West Bengal leaving hundreds dead, raped and displaced, is a study in contrast.
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