- The Delhi government increased the demand for oxygen in Delhi from 300 to 1200 metric tonnes.
- This exaggeration of oxygen demand had an impact on the supply of oxygen to 12 high-caseload states.
- On May 8, the Supreme Court appointed a panel to conduct a medical oxygen audit in Delhi.
According to a Supreme Court-appointed audit panel, the Delhi government inflated oxygen needs during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic by more than four times.
According to the SC audit report, this exaggeration of oxygen needs had an impact on supply to 12 high caseload states.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal reacted by saying that accountability must be fixed to interrupt India’s oxygen supply.
“There was a significant discrepancy” (about four times). This is because the actual oxygen use claimed by the Delhi government (1,140 MT) was nearly four times higher than the calculated consumption based on bed capacity (289 MT),” according to the panel study, quoted by TOI.
According to the Petroleum and Oxygen Safety Organization (PESO), Delhi had excess oxygen, which might have resulted in a national crisis.
“People of Delhi suffered, and other states faced a crisis due to this mismanagement,” a Shiv Sena Rajya Sabha MP said in response to the audit report. This is a damning audit report; hopefully, the lessons will be learned and accountability will be established.”
People were running from pillar to post seeking oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, and Remdesivir injections during the April-May period, as the Delhi government and the Centre were at loggerhead about a shortage of oxygen in the national capital.
The Centre altered Delhi’s oxygen quota after the Delhi High Court intervened, sending more tankers to the national capital but reducing the allotment to other states.
According to the audit report, Delhi required 300 metric tonnes of oxygen, but Delhi government increased the demand to 1200 metric tonnes.
The panel led by AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria, includes Max Healthcare Director Sandeep Buddhiraja, Delhi Government Principal Home Secretary Bhupinder Bhalla, and Union Jal Shakti Ministry Joint Secretary Subodh Yadav.
Four hospitals in Delhi have been cited for claiming excessive oxygen usage despite having fewer beds. According to the report, the Singhal Hospital, Aruna Asif Ali Hospital, ESIC Model Hospital, and Liferay Hospital all had a shortage of beds and their data was incorrect, resulting in overstated claims of oxygen needs in Delhi.
The panel found discrepancies in the information provided by Delhi hospitals.
According to data from the Delhi government, oxygen consumption did not exceed 350 MT from April 29 to May 10.
Meanwhile, the oxygen task force has advised that a strategy be developed to ensure that big cities have enough oxygen produced locally to meet at least 50% of their demand.