Send us whatever O2 you can spare: Kejriwal to CMs

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With Delhi hospitals on Saturday turning away Covid-19 patients on account of the acute oxygen shortage being faced by them for the fifth consecutive day, chief minister Arvind Kejriwal wrote an urgent SOS to chief ministers of all states, requesting them to send to the national capital whatever surplus oxygen and tankers that they could spare.

Requesting that his letter be treated as an SOS, the chief minister said, “Delhi does not produce any oxygen. Due to the severe rise in corona cases in the last few days, many Delhi hospitals have run out of oxygen. Daily supplies of oxygen to Delhi are woefully short of our requirements.”

While Delhi’s daily oxygen allocation is 480MT, Kejriwal has said that the city currently requires about 700MT, given the surge in fresh Covid-19 cases — the national capital has been reporting nearly or over 25,000 cases every day for the past one week at least.

Kejriwal said he would be grateful if chief ministers could provide Delhi with any oxygen, along with tankers.

“The Central government is also helping us a lot in this regard. However, the intensity of the spread is so severe that it is proving inadequate. Therefore, I would be grateful if you could provide us with any oxygen, along with tankers, from your state or any organisation in your state. I would be personally grateful for your support,” he wrote.

Kejriwal’s letter came on a day when the Central and the Delhi government, in a first, sent empty tankers to Durgapur in West Bengal, via an Indian Air Force C17 carrier, to be filled with liquid medical oxygen and brought to Delhi by rail, even as several hospitals continued to send SOS messages to the city administration requesting urgent oxygen supply to treat critically ill Covid-19 patients.

The Delhi chief minister also tweeted: “I am writing to all CMs requesting them to provide oxygen to Delhi if they have spare. Though Central govt. is also helping us, the severity of corona is such that all available resources are proving inadequate (sic).”

On April 22, Kejriwal, in a press conference, had appealed to all states to put up a united front against Covid-19.

He urged all states to help each other and assured them that if Delhi had oxygen in excess, his government would supply it to other needy states.


A senior Delhi government official said the city administration is arranging supply tankers on war footing and is also preparing a proposal for the Central government, suggesting a reallocation of oxygen to Delhi from plants that are nearer to Delhi than from cities such as Durgapur (West Bengal), Kalinganagar and Rourkela (both in Odisha) which are about 1,300-1,600km from the national capital.

“Airlifting empty tankers and bringing filled ones to Delhi via rail will take around three days. But sending and bringing back tankers only via rail will take up to four days as a goods/tanker train moves at a speed of 50 kmph. Delhi’s situation is such that we need the full quota of 480MT oxygen supply every day, which is not possible till the time these far-flung areas are dropped from Delhi’s list and nearer (oxygen) plants are allocated to us. Till then, Delhi will continue to have a shortfall of about 100MT, no matter how much effort the government puts in. Also, Delhi’s current need for medical oxygen is around 700MT,” the official said, asking not to be named.

“Hence, we are trying to arrange tankers from these far-flung areas itself so that we can save a day or two at least (in transporting the tankers to these areas), until a new arrangement on allocation of oxygen is devised by the Central government,” the official added.

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