The Delhi High Court on Saturday ordered the central government to ensure that Delhi today receives its allotted 490 tonnes of oxygen by any means or the court may have to consider initiating contempt proceedings against the officials concerned.

“The water went over the head. Now we mean business. You’re going to fix everything now, ”a bench of judges Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli told the Center.

This followed after the bench was informed of the deaths of eight patients today at Batra hospital due to lack of oxygen.

The bench said he could not close his eyes and told the Center to replenish the supply allocated to Delhi.

“Delhi is not an industrial state. It doesn’t have cryogenic tankers. Thus, it is the responsibility of the Center to organize the tankers as well, otherwise the oxygen allocation of 490 MT will only be left with paperwork, ”the court said.

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“The allocation to Delhi has been in effect since April 20 and not a single day has Delhi received any allocated supplies,” the court noted.

Senior Counsel Rahul Mehra, representing the Delhi government, informed the court at 3 p.m. today that he had received an SOS message from the officer responsible for ensuring the oxygen supply to Delhi hospitals, that Delhi’s reserves were depleted and today supplies to Linde and Air Liquide factories were minimal or nonexistent. He expressed serious concerns about how the capital would cope with the shortage today as many hospitals and nursing homes were running out of medical oxygen, or would in the next few hours.

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The Supreme Court also observed yesterday that the Center has a special responsibility to protect people’s lives.

“Forget the inability of the Delhi government to lift the tankers, you as the Center have a special responsibility. You have to move forward because you have to save lives, Mr Solicitor, ”the Supreme Court said.

Click here to read the order

The article was originally published in The booklet.