"Do Not Divert Oxygen To Other States," Delhi High Court Tells Company

The order comes on a day Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Delhi's health infrastructure was on the brink due to overload.

The Delhi High Court asked Inox to restore the state's supplies of oxygen.

New Delhi:

Oxygen firm Inox was today ordered by the Delhi High Court not to divert supplies from the state to other places after a petition was filed on the matter. The order comes on a day Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, announcing a six-day lockdown, said that Delhi's health infrastructure was on the brink due to overload. The court also asked the state administration to ensure migrant workers are provided food during the shut down.

The Delhi government had informed the High Court today that it had sought 700 metric tonnes of oxygen per day from the Centre. While the state had allocated 300 metric tonnes starting tomorrow, the government had sought more.

Inox had, the government said, stopped supplies and diverted them to another state.

When the court asked the state government which state oxygen was being diverted to, it hesitated, saying the matter could become political.

On the court's insistence, the state's counsel said, "It's one of the larger states. We will leave it at that."

The High Court then said: "We direct M/s Inox to honour its contract with the Delhi government and hospitals and continue to supply oxygen and restore 140 metric tonnes supply immediately."

It also directed the Centre to file an affidavit on Covid bed augmentation and supply of medicines.

More importantly, it directed the Delhi government to use money from the Building Workers Act Fund to provide food for daily wagers and migrants affected by the lockdown.

"We are not trying to scare you...I won't say the health system has collapsed but it is really stressed. There are limits to any system," Chief Minister Kejriwal today said, announcing the six-day lockdown from 10 pm tonight to 5 am next Monday. He said it was necessary because resources were at a breaking point in an escalating Covid crisis.  

Delhi yesterday recorded the biggest jump in its daily Covid tally with 25,462 fresh cases and a positivity rate of nearly 30 per cent. A day before, 24,375 cases and 167 deaths were reported in the city.