Bench asks Centre to consider reorientation of supply of oxygen from various plants
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday asked the Government of India to consider reorientation of the supply of oxygen from various plants in such a manner that the allocated quantity reached the respective States before the already allotted quota was exhausted to avoid loss of life.
Hearing a petition on the COVID-19 management in Punjab, Haryana and the Union Territory of Chandigarh, a Bench of Justices Rajan Gupta and Karamjit Singh said the present situation in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh appeared to be critical and deserved immediate attention of the Centre.
The Punjab government, in an affidavit, said while the State was facing a deficit of 32 lakh doses of vaccine for vaccination of people above 45 years, it required 2.64 crore doses to vaccinate those between the 18-44 age-group for which the State was in dialogue with private suppliers who had so far managed to supply only 1 lakh doses.
According to the affidavit, Punjab has a population of approximately 72 lakh people falling in the age group of above 45, whose vaccines are to be provided by the Central government. “Only 40 lakh doses were provided by the Centre out of which 2 lakh doses remain. The State is facing a deficit of 32 lakh doses on this account. Similarly, for the age group of between 18-44, the population is 1.32 crore. At the rate of 2 doses per individual this works out to 2.64 crore doses,” it read.
Advocate General Atul Nanda said Punjab required 300 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen whereas the Centre had allocated to it 227 MT, which was also not reaching the State. Sufficient number of containers were not allotted to transport the same. Besides, the State needed 600 doses of Tocilizumab, considered life-saving drug in critical cases.
Haryana’s Advocate General Baldev Raj Mahajan said the State was facing extreme shortage of oxygen despite the fact that it had a plant located at Panipat, which was manufacturing 260 MT thereof. Instead of allowing the State of Haryana to get the supply from the plant at Panipat for the facility of transport as well as timely replenishment, it had been allocated far off places like Rourkela and Jamnagar etc. The resultant delay had led to several deaths in Haryana as well.
Satya Pal Jain, Additional Solicitor General of India, representing the Union of India, said the allocation of oxygen was being done equitably to all the States. No discrimination was being done. He pointed out that certain difficulties were being faced in view of the fact that certain States did not have oxygen plants and they had also to be supplied oxygen.
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