Supreme Court asks Center for oxygen and vaccination plan, declares national emergency

States bicker with center or other states over oxygen and other supplies

New Delhi:

The Supreme Court asked to see a “national plan” on oxygen supply, essential drugs and vaccination method and issued an opinion to the Center on the day India saw the largest increase in the number of cases of Covid in the world – 3.14 lakh cases and over 2,000 deaths per day.

“We want to see the national plan on this issue,” said Chief Justice of India SA Bobde. The hearing will take place tomorrow.

The Supreme Court intervened in the case at a time when six high courts across the country are hearing petitions related to the crisis of oxygen, beds and the antiviral drug Remdesivir in hospitals.

“We want to know. Regarding the four issues of oxygen supply, the supply of essential drugs, the method and mode of vaccination and we want to retain the power to declare the lockout with the states,” he said. said the chief justice.

“We wish to take suo motu knowledge of some issues as we find six high courts – Delhi, Bombay, Sikkim Madhya Pradesh, Calcutta and Allahabad. Now they are exercising their jurisdiction in the best interest. But what is happening is a kind of confusion and diversion. of resources. “

In a separate hearing on Vedanta’s petition to open its closed copper plant in Tamil Nadu for oxygen production, Judge Bobde noted that “the current situation is like a national emergency.” For three days, the Delhi High Court heard urgent requests for oxygen and other resources from the city government and various city hospitals.

Two emergency hearings at the Delhi High Court ended late last night after an oxygen tanker left for a hospital of the Max Group, the city’s largest hospital chain, which had approached the court to ask for help as he was almost running out of oxygen for his Covid patients. .

The High Court expressed “shock and dismay” at the government’s handling of the oxygen crisis and ordered the Center to “beg, borrow, steal” but ensure an adequate supply of oxygen for them. hospitals.

“The citizen can only fall back on the state. It is the responsibility of the government. Pray … borrow … or steal, it is your job,” said the court.

“How is the government so oblivious to the reality on the ground? You can’t kill people for lack of oxygen. You take your time and people die.”

In the country’s growing health crisis, with resources and infrastructure stretched to the limit, states are bickering with the center or other states over the supply of oxygen, vaccines and drugs.

India reported 314,835 new infections on Thursday, the world’s highest daily tally and a record 2,104 deaths in 24 hours.