Augmenting medical oxygen, can’t have unlimited stock: Centre

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NEW DELHI:  The Centre on Tuesday submitted its national plan for Covid-19 preparedness before the Supreme Court, while saying it does not contain micro details on day-to-day management. The plan gives an overview of the distribution of essential supplies and services, and the efforts to procure medical oxygen from all available sources within and outside India.

“The national plan, however, does not include microscopic details as to the day-to-day management of the issues arising out of different disasters,” the affidavit said. Explaining the medical oxygen situation, the affidavit said, the stock of the life-saving gas cannot be unlimited in any country. “While the government started all out efforts to augment oxygen resources…, these supplies are to be distributed to all the states, especially those which are critically burdened with high number of active Covid cases, in a balanced manner,” the home ministry’s affidavit said.

It, however, warned that “any singular/isolated deviation in such plan for a particular state (either under a judicial order or otherwise) without keeping in mind the national availability and ever changing requirements of each state is bound to have a cascading effect on oxygen supply to other states.” On the Remdesivir situation, the 106-page affidavit said its production has been expedited.

Taking suo motu cognisance of the issues arising out of the Covid-19 outbreak, the SC had directed the Centre to submit a national plan. During the hearing, a new bench led by Justice D Y Chandrachud said it never proposed to interdict the high courts that are already seized of the matter, nor enter the executive domain. All it intended to do was  to offer suggestions and solutions. The court named Jaideep Gupta and Meenakshi Arora as amicus curaie after Harish Salve recused himself.

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