ILNS: Oxygen re-filler Seth Air on Tuesday sent a virtual SoS to the Delhi High Court, through its lawyer, saying that they are at the point of breakdown and that they just cannot take the huge increase in demand for oxygen anymore.
They have asked for special protection, possibly the paramilitary.
The bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli have been hearing pleas regarding the shortage of beds, drugs, and oxygen supply, amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Several other petitions have been filed by hospitals and individuals on the same issue.
Advocate Virag Gupta claimed that opposite party leaders and other workers are hoarding and black-marketing the medicines in Delhi. “The general public has this notion that all opposite party leaders and politicians can be seen distributing medicines and the general public are not able to get it at all,” he said.
“They don’t have any licence to procure it. My prayer is, these people, whether MLAs or MPs, if they are distributing these medicines, they should be penalised. If the general public is penalised due to black-marketing then these people should too.”
Justice Sanghi: “Currently, we are not inclined to lodge a CBI inquiry. Also, we are only concerned about what is happening in Delhi, not other bordering states.”
Gupta: “My prayer is limited to Delhi only. Those who are admitting that they are doing it in bulk quantity, should be asked. And the police may be directed.”
Justice Sanghi: “Seth (oxygen re-filler M/s Seth Air) should be asked as to how much he can handle.”
Delhi Counsel Rahul Mehra: “We have already asked him. For the last three days, the government is chasing him to provide the bills, because he raised the issue earlier. But, he is not responding. Every person coming to us involved in this are coming and telling us they were supplied by Seth.”
Advocate Abhinav Tyagi, representing Seth, said: “Yesterday, (we supplied) 3.2 MT for eight hours. Now, the machine is not working. Mr Mehra is correct. He contacted me regarding the issue, Mr Seth has only two men currently handling the in and out. He is nearing breakdown. But I have asked him to raise bills urgently. Mr Seth is catering to hospitals and he is giving them the allocated quantity. But now, they want more. They know him from past and he can’t say a thing.”
Advocate Tyagi added: “A policeman and a driver is with him. Perhaps the paramilitary should be with him. He asked for a less quantity — 16MT – and still he is ordered to manufacture 25 MT.”
Justice Sanghi: “If the officers are there, they should be directed to handle the plant. At least they could do some amount of fire-fighting.”
Mehra: “We have GPS trackers in the tankers.”
Justice Sanghi: “It is for tankers. But, do they have someone to talk on the phone to Linde (another oxygen manufacturer, like Inox)? These officers can do it.”
Mehra: “I assure you on behalf of the Delhi government that whatever he wants, we will provide. We are not against him. But he should be there for us.”
Justice Sanghi: “So far the transportation of cylinder is concerned, it could be done by any vehicle. You are saying cylinder to be filed and come in trucks. The delivery can be done by other vehicles.”