Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said the city is facing an "acute shortage" of oxygen for COVID-19 patients and alleged that the quota of the city has been diverted to other states.
Kejriwal’s remarks came hours after he wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his help in enhancing the number of hospital beds and immediate oxygen supply for patients in Delhi.
A central government official has rejected Kejriwal's claims as "blatant lies" and said there was no panic situation in Delhi regarding oxygen.
Kejriwal said on Twitter Sunday evening, "Del facing acute shortage of oxygen. In view of sharply increasing cases, Del needs much more than normal supply. Rather than increasing supply, our normal supply has been sharply reduced and Delhi's quota has been diverted to other states. OXYGEN HAS BECOME AN EMERGENCY IN DEL."
The chief minister also wrote a letter to Union Commerce and Industries Minister Piyush Goyal urging him to ensure "uninterrupted" supply of 700MT of oxygen on daily basis and restore supply of 140MT of oxygen by a supplier INOX.
The output of INOX, one of the major suppliers to Delhi hospitals, has been "diverted" to other states which has already started causing "critical shortages", he charged in the letter.
A senior official in the Commerce Ministry told PTI that the allegations made by the Delhi CM are "blatant lies".
According to official figures, Delhi hospitals received 254 MT of medical oxygen on April 16 and 612 MT on April 17. As of April 17, the daily demand of oxygen from Delhi was 197 MT. The total stock at INOX and Goyal Gas, Linde, Air Liquide for Delhi is 311 MT and the total stock position of oxygen in the capital is 700 MT.
"The demand for oxygen is mapped dynamically and is not a static number. Every state has to have demand management, otherwise the entire system will collapse," he said.
In an online briefing earlier in the day, the chief minister cited shortage of oxygen at hospitals, particularly private ones, in Delhi.
A private hospital in the city closely missed a tragedy Saturday night due to shortage of oxygen, he said.
Delhi has witnessed a very sharp rise in COVID-19 cases leading to a large number of serious patients getting admitted at hospitals. This has caused a huge jump in demand of medical oxygen, he added in his letter to Goyal.
(With PTI inputs.)