Amid shortage, western command offers help to old revive oxygen plants in Punjab
Responding to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh’s plea for help in the war-like Covid situation, the Western Command of the army on Monday extended all possible help, including medical staff and medically trained combatants, to Punjab to meet the exigent shortage in hospitals, along with support in reviving the state’s old oxygen plants that are currently lying defunct.
“Oxygen allocation from the Centre was currently only 105 metric tonnes as against the demand of 300 MTs daily. Of this, the state is actually getting only 85 MT as the rest is being diverted to PGIMER, Chandigarh,” according to an official statement.
Lt Gen RP Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, at a virtual meeting of the CM with senior command officials, also offered to provide staff to run the 100-bed Covid facility proposed to be set up in the building loaned to the state government by the CSIR for the purpose.
At another review meeting with top officials of the state government and medical experts, Amarinder said the government was also approaching the Union home ministry to provide manpower and ICU beds through the Border Security Force (BSF).
Technical and specialist cover will be provided by the Command Centre, Lt Gen Singh told the chief minister,r during their VC, adding that 15 trained nurses had already been sent to Patiala to support the civic staff. Further, experts will be sent to visit the defunct oxygen plants at existing industrial units to assess their status and extend whatever support needed for their restoration.
Though their resources were stressed on account of requirements also from other states, including Delhi, Haryana and Jammu & Kashmir, the army officials said they will extend all possible help to Punjab to tackle the situation.
Not proposing lockdown: Capt
The CM said later at the internal review meeting that the state government was making all efforts to secure medical oxygen to supplement its depleting stocks. While he was not proposing lockdown, which leads to exodus and economic woes, the CM made it clear that the other stringent steps were being taken to manage the escalating crisis. He directed the health department to follow up with the Centre for vaccine supplies as the state presently had only 1.76 lakh Covishield and 22,000 Covaxin doses in stock.
Reacting to reports of threats of strike by certain organisations of health and medical workers, Amarinder made it clear that this will be met with dismissal. “We cannot tolerate this kind of nonsense in a war-like situation,” he said.