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Delhi govt refutes allegations of inflated oxygen demand during second wave peak

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Following reports that the Delhi government exaggerated the national capital’s oxygen demand by four times during the peak of the second wave of COVID-19, the Delhi government has hit back at the Centre saying that the members of the Supreme Court’s oxygen audit committee have “not signed or approved” the interim report.

Delhi’s deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, “There is no such report. We have spoken to the members of the Oxygen Audit Committee formed by the Supreme Court. They said they have not signed or approved any such report. The BJP is presenting a false report that it prepared at its party headquarters. I challenge them to present such a report which has signatures of the members of the oxygen audit committee.”

By doing this, the BJP is not abusing Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, but “those who lost their family members due to oxygen shortage when coronavirus cases were at its peak, he said and accused the Union government of mismanagement “which led to the oxygen crisis”.

Delhi was hit severely by a brutal second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in April and May, claiming a massive number of lives daily, with a shortage in oxygen supply at various city hospitals adding to the woes.

What the report says

The Delhi government’s claim of 1,140 Metric Tonnes was four times the calculated consumption per the formula based on bed capacity, which was 289 MT only, says the interim report of a sub-group that the Centre has submitted to the Supreme Court.

The sub-group, led by AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, includes Delhi Government Principal Home Secretary Bhupinder Bhalla, Max Healthcare Director Sandeep Buddhiraja, Union Jal Shakti Ministry Joint Secretary Subodh Yadav and Sanjay Kumar Singh of the Petroleum and Oxygen Safety Organization (PESO).

The damning observations on Delhi’s “inflated” claims on oxygen needs are from a PESO study that is a part of the interim findings. According to the study, Delhi Government’s data said from April 29 to May 10, the consumption of oxygen did not exceed 350 MT.

The average consumption of oxygen in Delhi was between 284 to 372 MT, it said, adding that the infrastructure was inadequate for storing 700 MT, the amount that the Supreme Court had ordered the Centre to supply to Delhi. Delhi had “surplus oxygen, which is affecting the supplies to other states and are a disaster in waiting, if it continues like this,” the PESO study said.

“It was discussed that there is a gross discrepancy (about 4 times) in that the actual oxygen consumption claimed (1140MT) was about 4 times higher than the versus calculated consumption by formula for bed capacity (289MT),” the report says, quoting a presentation made before the sub-group.

 

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