The Delhi Government on Friday announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh to families of Covid-19 patients who died due to lack of oxygen during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic. A four-member expert committee has been constituted to look into the matter. Addressing the Press virtually, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said, during the second wave of the coronavirus, there was an oxygen crisis and there were reports that the oxygen shortage caused deaths at many hospitals. Sisodia said Rs 5 lakh would be given as compensation to the family of the deceased if the panel finds that the death happened due to lack of life-saving oxygen.
“During the second wave, many of the citizens lost a family member due to the oxygen crisis in Delhi. Taking into account the seriousness of the matter, the Govt has formed a committee of four medical experts. The panel will inspect, twice a week, claims of all those families who lost their loved ones due to oxygen scarcity and thereafter disburse Rs 5 lakh financial assistance to each family,” said Sisodia.
“The file constituting the committee has gone to Lieutenant-Governor Anil Baijal to secure approval and the panel would start functioning immediately after approval from the LG,” said Sisodia. The second wave of the pandemic saw many of the hospitals in the national Capital run out the life-saving gas. Delhi’s quota for medical oxygen was fixed by the Centre at 300 MT. By the time the quota was raised to 590 MT the requirement of the city had already gone up to 700 MT. Moreover, this allocation was to be sourced from 13 plants in seven States, of which nearly 34 per cent was to be from Odisha, Jharkhand and West Bengal, which had no pre-existing oxygen supply chain with Delhi.
To deal with this acute crisis, the Delhi Government worked out the use and requirement of each hospital through a series of meetings led by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal. Government lawyers impressed upon the Delhi High Court to give direction to the Centre to ensure 700 MT of regular supply to Delhi. However, by that time it was too late for many of the citizens who died due to lack of oxygen in the hospitals.