Delhi has sought the help of the Indian Army to set up, operationalise and run some COVID-19 health centres. This plea for help comes as Delhi grapples with an unprecedented increase in the number of cases and deaths with citizens running from pillar to post to arrange for oxygen and medical essentials for their loved ones.
"Since the entire health infrastructure machinery is overwhelmed with the management of the existing hospitals and the upcoming Covid hospitals, it will be a timely help to the people of Delhi if the ministry of defence, with the considerable resources at its command, is tasked with the responsibility to provide and man the additional Covid health facilities as per the current projections," wrote Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia to the defence ministry.
He thanked the Centre for increasing Delhi's oxygen supply and for the efforts of DRDO, ITBP. Sisodia urged the ministry to provide cryogenic tankers for the transportation of liquid medical oxygen. The Deputy CM said that the Delhi government with help from the Centre and other state governments is augmenting the oxygen transport infrastructure in the national capital.
The Deputy CM said that Delhi needs the Army's help in procuring 40,000 D Type medical oxygen cylinders and requested the ministry to provide medical and paramedical teams to increase medical manpower in Delhi.
The Delhi High Court asked the Centre to submit its reply to Delhi's request.
A petition was filed in the court seeking directions for handing over the management of oxygen in the national capital to the Army. "The issue of oxygen supply and distribution needs to be handed over to the Armed forces. Nobody else is able to handle it. It is just not happening," said an advocate to the court.
Senior Advocate Rahul Mehra, appearing for the Delhi government, told the court that Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had already written to the Defence Ministry.