‘Deploy Army to escort vehicles carrying oxygen’

A national plan is needed to defeat pandemic: Kejriwal

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, during his interaction with Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the COVID situation in Delhi via videoconferencing here on Friday, asked that Army be deployed to escort vehicles carrying supplies from oxygen plants to various cities, including the national capital.

While expressing gratitude to the Prime Minister for increasing the quota of oxygen supply for Delhi to 480 tonnes, the Chief Minister complained that only 350 tonnes from this quota could reach Delhi in the last 24 hours.

“Sir, since the oxygen crisis has begun my phone keeps ringing. One hospital or the other calls to inform us that it has oxygen supply for only a few hours. When we ask the reason behind it, we are told that the supply has been stopped beyond the border by one State government or another,” he said.

“The citizens of this country have the right to all its resources. If there isn’t an oxygen plant in Delhi, will its two crore people not have the right to oxygen supply at all? Can States where oxygen factories are located stop it from reaching Delhi?” he said.

If the oxygen supply at city hospitals dipped abysmally and the lives of patients were at risk, the Chief Minister asked as to whom it could reach out to for help.

The circumstances, Mr. Kejriwal said, had become very dire and citizens, instead of being left to die needed to be reassured that each life was important to governments.“I appeal to you on behalf of the people of Delhi and submit that if stern but constructive steps are not taken in this regard, a big tragedy can take place,” he said.

“There are few States from where a significant quantity of our oxygen supply comes. I request you to call the respective Chief Ministers and ask them not to stop the supply meant for Delhi,” he also said.

The situation at city hospitals was deteriorating by the day due to lack of oxygen supply, Mr. Kejriwal said. A ‘national plan’ to defeat the pandemic, he said, needed to be put in place.

Mr. Kejriwal suggested, the Centre should take over oxygen plants across the country and martial units should escort vehicles carrying supply to their destinations. If this was done no one would be able to stall such a vehicle, he said

“I also request that 100 tonnes of oxygen allocated to Delhi from Odisha be airlifted or brought by Oxygen Express [train]. Please help us bring oxygen from West Bengal in a similar manner, if possible,” he said.

“We request a corridor to Delhi for 100 tonnes of oxygen intended for the city… There should also be ‘One Nation, One Rate’ for vaccines,” he said.

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