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SC Panel Report on Delhi's 4 Times Exaggerated Oxygen Demand Triggers War of Words Between BJP, AAP

Representational image.

Representational image.

Delhi's deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia, responded saying, "We spoke to members of the audit committee who say that we haven't signed any report or approved it".

An audit team appointed by the Supreme Court of India has reportedly found that the Delhi government exaggerated the oxygen requirement in the national capital by more than four times during the April 25-May 10 peak period of the Covid-19 second wave.

Reacting to this BJP leader, BL Santosh wrote on Twitter, “Will @ArvindKejriwal @msisodia hold their customary briefing at 12 noon & apologise to the nation for their criminal act of claiming excess O2 & by endangering lives of thousands who could have been provided that Oxygen….? Shameless people."

In response, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party over its allegations.

Sisodia claimed that the “alleged" report does not exist.

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“We spoke to members of the audit committee who say that we haven’t signed any report or approved it. Where has this report come from? I ask BJP leaders to calm down and ask themselves where is this report based on which they are levelling allegations," he added.

In a separate press conference, BJP’s Sambit Parta said, “Many lost their family members in Jaipur Golden hospital and in Batra hospital, now this report has revealed that Arvind Kejriwal is responsible for these deaths. We are sure Kejriwal will be held accountable for criminal negligence in these deaths in the SC. AAP’s focus has been only on advertising and zero management. They’ve spent 1000 crores on advertisements. They kept lying."

The oxygen audit team also informed the apex court that the supply of excess oxygen to Delhi could have affected supply to 12 states with a high caseload.

“There was a gross discrepancy (about four times). The actual oxygen consumption claimed by the Delhi government (1,140MT) was about four times higher than the calculated consumption as per the formula based on bed capacity (289 MT),” the newspaper cited the audit sub-group as saying in its report.

Further, the Petroleum and Oxygen Safety Organisation (PESO) reportedly told the SC-appointed sub-group that the “National Capital Territory of Delhi had surplus oxygen, which is affecting liquid medical oxygen (LMO) supply to other states”. It noted that the situation may lead to a national crisis, according to the news report.

On May 5, during the peak of the second wave of novel coronavirus infections, a Justice DY Chandrachud-led bench of the top court had directed the Centre to maintain oxygen supply of 700 MT to Delhi even as Solicitor General Tushar Mehta had presented experts’ calculation pegging the need to be around 415 MT of LMO. The direction came after the Delhi government raised alarm over a shortage in oxygen supply.

During the April-May period, the national capital had witnessed a major shortage of oxygen, available beds, and medicines required for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. On April 20, 2021, Delhi had reported around 28,000 new COVID-19 cases during a 24-hour period.

In its interim report to the SC, the sub-group said it drafted a proforma to “calculate accurate oxygen requirement of NCTD" and circulated it among 260 hospitals. As many as 183 hospitals, including all major ones, responded with oxygen consumption data, which was analysed against three parameters - actual consumption of oxygen, requirement as per Centre’s formula and Delhi government’s formula.

It said actual LMO consumption in 183 hospitals as per Delhi government was 1,140 MT, but according to hospital supplied information, the actual consumption was only 209 MT. If the

Centre-recommended formula for oxygen allotment was employed, the requirement would have been 289 MT and as per the Delhi government formula it would have been 391 MT, it said.

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first published:June 25, 2021, 11:01 IST