The Indian Air Force (IAF) is bringing 352 empty oxygen cylinders from Singapore in its mighty IL-76 transport aircraft to Delhi which is facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen amidst the second wave of coronavirus.
A home ministry spokesperson said on Wednesday that the IL-76 of IAF was picking up 352 empty oxygen cylinders for Delhi. “This union home ministry coordinated exercise will help in increasing oxygen availability amid the current Covid-19,” it said.
The Press Information Bureau released a picture of IL-76 of the IAF picking up empty cylinders for the media.
This wave of coronavirus has claimed 17,752 lives so far in the national capital.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Wednesday heard the union government’s appeal against Delhi high court’s order of issuing contempt notice and seeking the physical appearance of its officials for non-compliance with the directions on supply of oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients in the national capital.
A bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said that it had ordered a supply of 700 MT oxygen to Delhi daily from May 3 as the pandemic in Delhi was at a very critical stage. “Tell us how much oxygen you have allocated to Delhi in the last three days,” the bench said.
The overstretched health infrastructure is gasping for breath because of an acute shortage of medical oxygen in the city after serious Covid cases started flooding the hospitals. Several hospitals approached the Delhi high court and made SOS pleas on social media, saying their oxygen supplies were running out.
On Tuesday, the Delhi High Court had asked the union government to show cause why contempt should not be initiated against it for failing to comply with the order on supply of oxygen to Delhi for treating Covid-19 patients.
The high court noted that the apex court has already directed, and now the high court is also saying that the union government will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away by whatever means. “You are part of the city and seeing the situation yourself. No, you don’t know. Are you living in ivory towers?” the bench said.
A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli also rejected the union government’s submission that Delhi was not entitled to 700 metric tonnes of medical oxygen in light of existing medical infrastructure. It said the Supreme Court’s 30 April detailed order directed the central government to provide 700 MT of oxygen per day to Delhi and not just 490 MT.
“We had told you contempt is the last thing in our mind but it is certainly in our mind and doesn’t drive us to that last point. We mean business now. Enough is enough. Be clear on this. We are not going to take no for an answer. There is no way you won’t supply 700 MT,” the high court said during a five-hour-long hearing.
“There is a Supreme Court order and now we are also saying that you will have to supply 700 MT oxygen daily to Delhi right away by whatever means. We would not hear anything except compliance”, an annoyed bench orally observed.