The Delhi High Court bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli, while hearing the slew of petitions on the shortage of life saving drugs, oxygen and hospital beds in the Capital, was told today that the many of the oxygen concentrators (about 12 percent of all) and oxygen cylinders that have come in from other countries, bought, or as aid, have still not been cleared from Customs.
The complaint was manifold, starting from red tape that slowed the entire process, to even excuses that even if they have been cleared, the “couriers” aren’t picking them up.
Justice Sanghi said “these concentrators are for those at home and not hospital.”
Amicus Rajshekhar Rao said “the Centre needs to be more clear about the status (oxygen lying at airports for 5 days).”
Advocate Krishnan Venugopal pointed out that the Centre has still not stated the figures of the number of concentrators lying with the custom and their status.
The counsel representing the Centre, Mahajan, said: “I don’t have any problem with stating the figure. I have been in talks with Mr Rao and he knows… These are dynamic figures. It is not that Customs has held them. Sometimes the couriers are not picking it up. I can update Mr Rao every day, but that would take up a lot of time. But I can state that Customs is complying.
Venugopal said “with reference to concentrators, I need to get something clarified from Mahajan. Why has the last 12 percent not removed even after the order?”
The government counsel, advocate Mahajan, said “there is a PIL in the court regarding this.”
Rao said “it is indeed not removed. This is a waste of time and somebody has to look into it. First the government realised there is customs duty, they removed it. then they cut short IGST from 28 to 12% and then they made it strictly for personal use. All this could have been done in one go. It was done in parts.