The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the centre to consider utilising the engineering wing of the Armed Forces for setting up a storage facility for oxygen while hearing a plea on various issues arising due to the rapid surge in COVID-19 cases in the national capital.
Appearing for the centre, Additional solicitor general (ASG) Chetan Sharma informed the division bench of justices of Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, who was hearing various aspects relating to the crisis that arose due to spike in COVID -19 infection, that Armed Forces' help can be taken for transportation of oxygen.
The High Court had earlier asked the centre to respond to Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia's letter to Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on seeking Army's help in dealing with coronavirus crisis in the national capital.
ASG Chetan Sharma apprised the court today about details of help extended by the Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) and said he has received a communication that the Army, Air-Force and Navy are on the job. "Airforce has helped in the transportation of tankers," Mr Sharma submitted.
The High Court also told Mr Sharma about the direction passed in the afternoon regarding developing a channel for production and distribution of liquid medical oxygen like Petroleum products and on availing services of the engineering wing of the Army for storage of oxygen.
ASG Sharma stated that the said aspect would be considered and will inform the court after seeking instructions from the centre.
Meanwhile, Deepti, Joint Secretary (Health), Armed Forces joined the hearing via video conference. ASG Sharma informed Deepti about the Court's suggestion of involving the army in the storage aspect.
The Court asked Deepti to discuss it within the Army hierarchy. Deepti told the court that she did not see any difficulty as these are unprecedented times. She assured the Court that despite Army's resources being stretched, it will do its best.
The Court was hearing a petition filed by advocate Rakesh Malhotra on various issues that arose due to an unprecedented surge in COVID-19 cases in the national capital. The matter was disposed of on January 14 but after the national capital was hit by the fourth wave of coronavirus infection, the Court revived the petition in April again.