Amid a political row over an interim oxygen report by a Supreme Court panel, All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director Dr Randeep Guleria has given clarifications on some doubts being raised.
While the interim report by the SC-appointed National Task Force (NTF) said that the Delhi government exaggerated its oxygen requirements by four times during the 25 April to 10 May, Guleria has said that the need and supply are dynamic processes.
“Oxygen requirement is a dynamic process and requirement will change from day to day and time to time as the pandemic behaves. Therefore, needs and what was being supplied will vary and that is what the report has tried to bring out,” he said.
He pointed out that the actual oxygen use for each day has been mentioned in the interim report based on what was asked and the actual consumption.
The AIIMS director went on to state that since the report is interim, the matter is subjudice.
“We have submitted the report. However, it is an ongoing process and until the final report is out, it is difficult to say what the final report is,” he said.
The report is comprehensive with all the details, said Guleria.
He said that soon, a final report will be prepared and submitted to the apex court of the country.
The SC oxygen panel was headed by AIIMS Director Randeep Guleria and included Delhi Government Principal Home Secretary Bhupinder Bhalla, Max Healthcare Director Sandeep Buddhiraja, Union Jal Shakti Ministry Joint Secretary Subodh Yadav and Sanjay Kumar Singh of the Petroleum and Oxygen Safety Organization (PESO).
The top court had set up the NTF on 6 May to formulate a methodology for allocation of oxygen for saving lives of Covid-19 patients and to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic.
Discrepancy pointed out
Guleria’s statement came after claims of exaggerated demands by Delhi created a stir.
According to the interim report, the Delhi government’s claim of “1,140 Metric Tonnes of oxygen was four times the calculated consumption as per bed formula, which was 289 MT only”.
It stated that consumption of oxygen in Delhi in the period mentioned above had to be “corrected” due to a “gross error in reporting by some hospitals”.
The panel had named four Delhi hospitals that claimed high consumption — Singhal Hospital, Aruna Asif Ali Hospital, ESIC Model Hospital and Liferay Hospital.
The discrepancy, the report said, led to supply for other states getting affected.
Following this, Delhi BJP president Adesh Gupta on Saturday demanded Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s apology for “oxygen mismanagement” and charged the government with “criminal negligence”.
Meanwhile, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia alleged that the “bogus” report was “cooked up” at BJP’s office.
Other recommendations of report
In its 163-page interim report submitted to SC, the NFT has said India should have a strategic reserve of oxygen for two to three of consumption like the arrangements for petroleum products.
It also recommended that all hospitals should have a buffer capacity for emergencies and set up oxygen monitoring committees of senior staff.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the NFT has recommended that about 20% buffer capacity of the states’ requirement should be created for allocation over and above baseline demand for allocation to areas where cases rise.
In case of an emergency, the states may also look at making make-shift hospitals near industrial oxygen production units that will be able to supply piped oxygen with strict quality control, the panel suggested.
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