The Delhi High Court today suggested that oxygen suppliers could create WhatsApp groups with hospitals on their list so that they can be updated about stocks and supply schedules. It also said it should be made mandatory for larger hospitals to have oxygen plants.
"Had all hospitals had one of their own, there could have been something to fall back on. Unfortunately, we are completely dependent now," the court said. "A number of problems will get resolved if the oxygen supply is fixed. If supply is increased, people would be attended to. Things will settle down."
The court was hearing matters related to the supply of oxygen to Delhi, which has turned extremely contentious in the past few weeks since the third wave of the Covid pandemic began overwhelming the health system of the country.
Several states, besides Delhi, have complained of a shortage of oxygen, apart from other medical resources like hospital beds, medicines, and vaccines.
"We are testing 70,000 to 80,000 cases per day. Earlier we were testing around 1 lakh in the market place before the curfew...Hence the reduction by around 30,000. We have written to all labs saying we have not stopped tests," the state government informed the High Court.
Seth Air, one of the largest oxygen re-fillers, informed the High Court that their Delhi supply has increased from 16 tonnes to 37 tonnes recently.
"We are not able to supply...Some new re-filler has to come in. My system will collapse. The army came in saying our jawans are dying and wanted oxygen. We have to give them. And then (we) couldn't supply to Delhi," Seth Air said.
"If my bills are cleared, I will get some money. Hospitals should pay my bills and the Delhi government should clear my outstanding bills of Rs 12 lakhs. Then I can get my consignments," the company told the court.
Earlier, the High Court, hearing a group of lawyers seeking medical facilities to advocates suffering from COVID-19, said "it is a complete failure of the state".
"It is a war, as a society and community, we cannot let people suffer because of other's greed who are indulging in black marketing. This creates artificial scarcity. People in desperation have to buy oxygen cylinders and medicines in black. That money is of no use. We have to bring out best and not our worst at this time. This is not the time to indulge in black marketing, certainly not," the court said.