Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said Tuesday that they are importing 18 oxygen tankers from Bangkok, which will reach tomorrow (Wednesday) and help Delhi bring oxygen from generation plants to hospitals.
“We have faced difficulty in getting oxygen allotted by the Centre because there is a shortage of tankers. The Delhi government has decided to import 18 tankers from Bangkok. They will reach tomorrow. We asked the Centre to provide IAF planes for this. Their response has been very positive and I am hoping this coordination will be successful. Once these tankers come, the problem in transporting oxygen will be sorted out.
He said the Centre had also provided Delhi with 5 tankers to transport oxygen.
Delhi hospitals have been reeling under oxygen shortage for the past week, with 20 patients dying in one hospital after oxygen pressure dropped. Hospitals in Delhi do not have their own medium-scale oxygen generation plants, which has exacerbated the problem.
Kejriwal also said that the government is importing 21 oxygen plants from France.
“They are ready to use and will be placed in different hospitals. This will help alleviate many problems… In the next 1 month, Delhi will have 44 oxygen plants. Of these, 8 are being set up by the Centre. There were some delays in doing this but hopefully they will be up by April 30. The other 36 will be put up in other hospitals,” he said.
The CM had earlier written to industrialists as well different state governments, asking for extra tankers and oxygen. In the Delhi High Court on Monday, the Centre’s counsel told the court that the state had the power to only ask for tankers, not oxygen, which can only be routed through the Centre.
On Tuesday, Kejriwal said: “We are getting tremendous support and things are moving fast. A lot of people have helped but have placed the condition that they not be named. This again is a great gesture as they do not want credit for their work,” he said.
In Delhi, the biggest shortage is being seen in ICU beds, with 4,723 out of 4,737 such beds occupied and only 14 available. Of these, 11 are in a children’s hospital and available for children and pregnant women.
The Delhi government is now planning to add 1,200 more ICU beds by May 10.
“This wave seems more dangerous, it is spreading faster and people are sicker. There is a shortage of ICU beds, we get calls from people looking for them. Despite best efforts, hospitals are overloaded. We are now expanding ICU facilities. 500 IU beds will be put up in the ground outside GTB Hospital, 500 at Ramlila Maidan (will be linked to Lok Nayak Hospital) and 200 at the Radha Soami Ground in Chhattarpur. These will be ready by May 10 and some pressure will be lifted off the existing system. We are working with the Centre as well as state governments and are getting help from everywhere. If we work together, there is no reason we cannot win over this,” he said.