The Supreme Court today told the Delhi government that there must not be any politics on the matter of the COVID-19 pandemic which has "put citizens' lives at stake". It also appreciated the work done by government officials to mitigate the effects of the unfolding crisis.
"We want to send a message to the Delhi government that it must take the approach of cooperation. Please send message to the highest level that at extreme times, there should not be any political bickering. Politics is for the time of elections. Now the citizens' lives are at stake. We want cooperation," a Supreme Court Bench said today.
The Delhi government later assured the bench that its entire machinery will take effective steps to tide over the situation.
Earlier, the bench also told the Central government that it had a "special responsibility towards Delhi" since the national capital "represents micro problems of the country".
"As a national authority towards the capital, this is the commitment you owe to citizens in Delhi," said the bench hearing matters related to COVID-19.
Sumita Dawra, the senior Union government officer making a PowerPoint presentation on the pandemic before the bench, said the Centre was carrying out a delicate balancing act since supplying oxygen to one state implies rerouting supplies from another state, which could lead to allegations of bias or favouritism.
"We fire-fight on a daily basis...yesterday, the Dehradun oxygen plant tripped; Inox also tripped. And we have to manage the supplies," Ms Dawra said.
"We are facing challenges and every two hours the situation changes. Though I am Covid-positive, we have continuously updated the plan in consultation with states," she said.