Delhi oxygen row: Report was sent to Centre without required changes, says official

The AAP government in Delhi came under fire from the BJP and the Congress on Friday over the interim report which said Delhi's oxygen needs were "exaggerated" by four times.

Published: 26th June 2021 11:34 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th June 2021 11:34 PM   |  A+A-

A worker moves empty oxygen cylinders for refilling at a gas supplier facility in Srinagar

Image used for representational purposes (Photo | AP)


NEW DELHI: The interim report of a Supreme Court-appointed panel that led to a controversy over Delhi's oxygen demand during second Covid wave seemed to have been sent to the Centre without required changes and formal approval of the sub-group, Delhi government's principal secretary (Home) B S Bhalla has said.

Bhalla, one of the five members of the panel, on Friday said in a note that he had sent his detailed written objections and comments on the draft interim report on May 31 to the sub-group with a request to revise it and send it for approval of members.

"However, the interim report seems to have been sent to the Government of India without making the requisite changes, without sharing again with the members of the sub-group, and without their formal approval," Bhalla said in his note sent to all members of the sub-group.

The AAP government in Delhi came under fire from the BJP and the Congress on Friday over the interim report which said Delhi's oxygen needs were "exaggerated" by four times during the second Covid wave.

Besides Bhalla, Max Healthcare's Clinical Director Sandeep Budhiraja, had questioned the conclusions.

In his note on Friday, Bhalla said his detailed objections and comments were added at the end the interim report "just for posterity", leaving it to the reader to make the effort to interpret the entire report together and make conclusions.

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"This is unfortunate and unacceptable as it is likely to result in formation of views based on part information," Bhalla said citing a news report that highlighted the "exaggerated" oxygen demand by Delhi government during the second Covid wave.

Bhalla in another note sent earlier on May 31 had claimed that the manner in which the proceedings of the sub-group were conducted, suggested that the purpose was to satisfy a "preconceived and predetermined conclusion and narrative to recommend a lower quantity of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to Delhi".

It was also aimed at further portraying an impression that the assessment by the GNCTD (Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi) before the high court and the Supreme Court was "exaggerated or not genuine", he had said.

Referring to his comments on oxygen demand of Delhi, the principal secretary(Home) said in his note on Friday that the actual oxygen consumption of 214 hospitals was 474 MT.

In addition, his comment on the draft interim report mentioned that "the requirement of oxygen for oxygen cylinders with home isolation patients, refillers and certain other establishments has also to be taken into account.

Also, oxygen for non- COVID requirement and some buffer component need to be factored in while calculating the total oxygen requirement of Delhi" Bhalla said.

ALSO READ | It's an interim report, oxygen needs change from day-to-day: AIIMS chief on oxygen controversy in Delhi

Due to the usage pattern observed for the additional requirements, a buffer of around 75 MT may be considered, he had said.

"Hence, the total oxygen consumption for Delhi was 550 MT around May 12-13, 2021, about 10 days after the peak of Covid in the capital," he said in the note.

He said "in the fourth meeting of the panel on May 13, it was discussed that there is a gross discrepancy (about four times) in that the actual oxygen consumption claimed (1,140 MT) was about four times higher than that calculated by formula for bed capacity (289 MT)."

It was noted that four hospitals in Delhi claimed "extremely high" oxygen consumption with very few beds and the claims appeared to be "clearly erroneous" leading to extremely skewed information and significantly higher oxygen requirement for entire state of Delhi, he stated.


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