Delhi govt sought 4 times more oxygen during COVID peak, finds SC appointed audit panel
The audit committee also informed the Supreme Court that the supply of excess oxygen to the national capital could have affected supply to 12 high caseload states.
The oxygen audit committee set up by the Supreme Court during last month’s lethal second wave of Covid-19 has concluded that the Delhi government sought four times more oxygen than what was required.
According to the reports, the Supreme Court-appointed oxygen audit team has exposed the Delhi government’s claims of oxygen shortage in the national capital, saying that the Delhi government had exaggerated the oxygen requirement in Delhi by more than four times during the second wave of the pandemic even as the country was facing it tough to source liquid medical oxygen (LMO).
The audit committee also informed the Supreme Court that the supply of excess oxygen to the national capital could have caused supply constraints shortage for at least 12 states who needed it.
The report of the SC-appointed oxygen audit sub-group said, "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 Petroleum and Oxygen Safety Organization (PESO) told the sub-group that "National Capital Territory of Delhi (NCTD) had surplus oxygen, which is affecting liquid medical oxygen (LMO) supply to other states" and apprehended that if excess O2 was kept supplied to Delhi, it could lead to a national crisis.
National Task Force on oxygen crisis finds:
· Consumption in 183 Delhi hospitals according to Delhi Govt = 1140 MT
· Actual consumption by 183 Delhi hospitals = 209 MT
· Requirement after applying Centre’s formula = 289 MT
· Requirement after applying Delhi Govt’s formula = 391 MT
The oxygen audit report has further said that due to Delhi's excessive demand, 12 other states had to face a severe shortage of life-saving oxygen as the supply of other states was diverted to Delhi.
On May 8, the Supreme Court has ordered the 12-member National Task Force it had constituted to form sub-committees for each state to carry out an audit to determine the Oxygen supplies allocated by the Union Government for each state and Union Territory.
The oxygen task force found that on May 13, oxygen tankers could not be offloaded at various hospitals because their tanks were already at more than 75% capacity. Even government hospitals such as LNJP and AIIMS reported full tanks.
The task force has said that consumption of oxygen in Delhi between April 29 and May 10 had to be "corrected" due to a "gross error in reporting by some hospitals". The Delhi government showed that the actual consumption reported by hospitals was 1140 MT. After correction of the error, the oxygen requirement fell to 209 MT.
After the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had claimed LMO shortage, a bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud had directed the Union government to maintain the supply of 700 MT of oxygen to Delhi even as the centre had presented a calculation devised by experts to fix the requirement at 415 MT of LMO.
However, days after the Supreme Court had decided to set up a panel to carry out an audit of supply, distribution and utilisation of oxygen supply in the national capital, the Delhi government had taken an u-turn about the deficit of medical oxygen saying that they have access supply of oxygen and could even supply the surplus oxygen to the states who need it.
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