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SC directs Centre to prepare buffer stock of oxygen for use in emergencies

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court has directed the Centre to prepare a buffer stock of oxygen for emergency purposes in collaboration with states and decentralise the location of the stocks so that it is immediately available if the normal supply chain is disrupted.

A three-judge bench headed by Justice DY Chandrachud said the emergency stocks would be created within the next four days and replenished on a day-to-day basis, in addition to the existing allocation of medical oxygen supply to the states.

 

“We direct the central government in collaboration with the states to prepare a buffer stock of oxygen to be used for emergency purposes to ensure supply lines continue to function even in unforeseen circumstances. The location of the emergency stocks shall be decentralised so as to be immediately available if the normal supply chain is disrupted to any hospital for any reason,” the bench said.

“The emergency stocks shall be created within the next four days. The replenishment of the emergency stocks will also be monitored on a real-time basis through the virtual control room in active consultation with each state/UT. This is in addition to the day-to-day allocations,” it added.

Noting that the situation on the ground in Delhi is heart-rending, the top court also directed the Centre to ensure that the deficit in the supply of oxygen to the national capital is rectified before May 3 midnight.

It said lives of citizens could not be put in jeopardy in the battle of shifting responsibility of supply of oxygen.