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Delhi oxygen demand row: Members’ dissent notes raise questions on SC panel’s findings

Amidst the row over the interim report on oxygen audit by a Supreme Court-appointed panel, the dissent notes by two members of the sub-group raise questions over its findings.

Published: 26th June 2021 08:44 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2021 08:44 AM   |  A+A-

Oxygen Cylinders

Image of oxygen cylinders used for representational purposes (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Amidst the row over the interim report on oxygen audit by a Supreme Court-appointed panel, the dissent notes by two members of the sub-group raise questions over its findings. The sub-group in its interim report has said that Delhi exaggerated its oxygen needs at the peak of the Covid second wave and the supply of excess oxygen affected other states.

Bhupinder Bhalla, principal secretary (Home), Delhi govt and Dr Sandeep Buddhiraja, clinical director & director–internal medicine, Max Healthcare did not attend the final meeting held on May 18 and rather sent their respective dissent notes which were part of the interim report submitted.

ALSO READ | Oxygen task force advocates for authorities maintaining 'strategic reserves' to handle COVID spike

Bhalla objected to the interim report, saying that the committee was functioning with a pre-conceived and predetermined conclusion and narrative. Dr Buddhiraja said that the calculation did not take into account the oxygen cylinder refilling and non-Covid requirements of the hospitals.

The Centre has submitted the interim report to the Supreme Court along with the recommendations of a National Task Force on oxygen. According to Bhalla’s dissent note, “The manner in which the proceedings of the Sub- Group have been conducted, suggests that the purpose of proceedings was to justify a pre-conceived and predetermined conclusion and narrative, to recommend a lower quantity of LMO to Delhi, and to further portray an impression that the assessment by the GNCTD before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi and the Hon’ble Supreme Court was exaggerated or not genuine.

The draft Interim Report is attempting to indicate an assessment of the LMO requirement qua Delhi, which is neither a reflection of its genuine demand or requirements at the various points in time that the discussions were held, especially during the period when, though the cases had peaked, the high requirement of oxygen continued due to consistently high bed occupancy in hospitals.” “There is no gainsaying that this kind of exercise does not further the spirit, intent and objective of the order of the Hon’ble Supreme Court whereby the Sub-group was constituted,” it reads.

‘Against spirit, intent, objective of SC order’

Bhupinder Bhalla, principal secretary (Home), Delhi said that “the committee was working with a pre-conceived and predetermined conclusion and narrative... (and) this kind of exercise does not further the spirit, intent and objective of the order of the Supreme Court”



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