The Delhi High Court on Monday granted liberty to the petitioner to make representation to the Government while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed seeking relief regarding permanent redressal of oxygen crisis due to Covid-19 pandemic that continues to report more than 3 lakh cases every day.
The division bench of Justice D.N. Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh has heard this petition and asked the petitioner to make clear meaning of ‘Big Hospitals’. As petitioner has submitted in his prayer that big hospitals be directed to have their own oxygen plant.
The petitioner has submitted in his petition that the medical infrastructure of the country has exhausted and facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen leading to the death of many innocent people. Though respondent no. 1 has decided to set up 551 medical oxygen generation plants in hospitals of every district of the country, which is inadequate in comparison to the numbers of hospitals and population of the country. At present, due to shortage of medical oxygen in the hospitals, the oxygen has become so precious that there is panic among the people, and black marketing of medical oxygen is being done and some shocking news is also coming from various places of country, that people are hijacking the trucks carrying medical oxygen on its way to the hospitals. Oxygen is an inflammable gas and to prevent accidents, it is stored and transported in cryogenic cylinders, but India does not have enough cryogenic cylinders. The Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen plants can become a permanent solution for all the above-mentioned problems which are being faced by the people in the present pandemic.
The petitioner emphasized the fact that such plants can come in varying capacities to generate oxygen, it employs a technology that absorbs nitrogen from ambient air to concentrate oxygen for supply to hospitals and oxygen thus generated can be supplied straight to the site through a dedicated pipeline.
The petitioner raised two major issues. One is oxygen transportation and the second is handling cylinders also has a safety aspect to it as oxygen under high pressure is highly inflammable and several fires in Covid-19 hospitals across the country in the last few days have been grim reminders of those risks and a permanent PSA oxygen generation plant in the hospitals can take away the risk of handling cylinders.
So, the petitioner came to the Court seeking direction for respondents no. 1 (Delhi Govt) and 2 (Centre) to make guidelines for establishing the medical oxygen PSA plants in Hospitals and execute the same in a time bound manner.