Expedite installation of PSA oxygen plants in Delhi: HC to Centre

The court issued the direction to the Centre after the Delhi government said that it was the central government which allocated two vendors for installing the eight PSA plants in the city.
Representational Image. (Photo | ANI)
Representational Image. (Photo | ANI)

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court Thursday directed the Centre to expedite the installation of the remaining four Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants, out of a total eight, in the national capital in view of the current crisis created by a massive surge in COVID-19 infections.

A bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli issued the direction to the Centre after the Delhi government said that it was the central government which allocated two vendors for installing the eight PSA plants in the city.

The Delhi government said that while one vendor was now unreachable, the other has been sent to another site by the Centre and hence, till date only two PSA plants have been set up.

The bench also directed the Delhi government to take immediate steps to request DRDO for its 'on board oxygen generation system', developed for use on aircrafts, which can be installed in hospitals to produce medical grade oxygen.

The direction to approach DRDO was issued by the court after it was informed that the Uttar Pradesh government has already made such a request for the system which can produce 1000 litres of oxygen per minute.

The court said these measures would help augment the oxygen generation capacity of Delhi which is grappling with a scarcity of the life saving gas.

The court also issued notice to the companies which supply oxygen to hospitals in Delhi and asked them to join the hearing on Friday.

It directed them to keep ready with them the "hospital-wise, quantity-wise and time-wise" data on oxygen supplied by them to the hospitals here after several of them complained that they were not getting the full quota of oxygen allocated to them by the Delhi government.

The bench, during the hearing, also said that setting up more oxygen generation would help the Delhi government to provide oxygen supply to individual citizens who might be isolating themselves at home for treatment.

The issue of oxygen supply to individuals in home care was raised before the bench by amicus curiae and senior advocate Rajshekhar Rao who said that if such people also seek hospitalisation due to lack of oxygen, then the burden on the healthcare system would be immense.

The court discussed with the Delhi government various options -- like having two queues at refilling stations, diverting oxygen from some hospitals for use of individuals and reducing oxygen allocation to some hospitals -- but finally decided to await the Centre's response to the query by the bench on Delhi's allocation of oxygen.

Earlier in the day the court had asked the Centre why states like Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra were getting more oxygen than what they had asked for, but Delhi was getting much less than what it had asked for.

The Delhi government, on the issue of providing oxygen to individuals, told the court that the oxygen allocation for the various hospitals was worked out with much difficulty and under the existing arrangement the hospitals were not getting what they actually needed.

In such a situation if the arrangement was disturbed, more hospitals would move the court again, the Delhi government said added that if it were to get some more oxygen, then individuals as well as the thousands of small clinics in the city can be facilitated.

The court was hearing several pleas on the oxygen crisis and other issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic which the national capital is presently grappling with.

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