Prepare Oxygen buffer stock, govt told

Prepare Oxygen buffer stock, govt told

Relatives carry a Covid patient on oxygen support on a stretcher at Swaroop Rani Nehru Hospital in Prayagraj on Sunday. PTI

Tribune News Service
New Delhi, May 3

As the oxygen crisis persists, the Supreme Court has asked the Centre to prepare a decentralised buffer stock of oxygen for “unforeseen circumstances” in collaboration with states to make it immediately available if the normal supply chain to any hospital gets disrupted for any reason.

‘Revisit vaccine policy, may create disparity’

The Centre told to revisit its vax pricing policy, as it would prima facie result in a detriment to the right to public health.

A Bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud also asked the Centre and states to “seriously consider” imposing a ban on mass gatherings and super-spreader events.

The Bench said they should consider imposing a lockdown to curb the virus spread in the second wave in the interest of public welfare. In case lockdown measures were imposed, arrangements be made beforehand to cater to the needs of various communities, it said in its April 30 order that has been published now.

The top court said the emergency stocks should be created in the next four days and replenished on a daily basis, in addition to the existing allocation of medical oxygen supply to states.

It said such an arrangement was needed to ensure that supply lines continued to function even in unforeseen circumstances.

The order assumes significance in view of recent incidents of deaths of Covid patients in Delhi and some other parts of the country on account of disruption of oxygen supply to hospitals.

“The location of the emergency stocks shall be decentralised so as to be immediately available if the normal supply chain is disrupted to any hospital for any reason,” it said.

The Bench said, “The replenishment of the emergency stocks will also be monitored on a real-time basis through the virtual control room in active consultation with each state/UT. This is in addition to the day-to-day allocations,” it said.

Describing the situation in Delhi as “heart-rending”, the court directed the Centre to ensure that the deficit in the supply of oxygen was rectified before May 3 midnight. Lives of citizens could not be put in jeopardy in the battle of shifting responsibility of supply of oxygen, it emphasised.

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