Capt sends SOS to Centre for oxygen quota increase
With oxygen supplies in the state depleting fast, chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Sunday sent another SOS, the second time in two days, to Union health and family welfare minister Dr Harsh Vardhan for urgent increase in allocation of the quota.
Amarinder also directed chief secretary Vini Mahajan to pursue with the central government for urgent supplies, given the serious situation, with patient load increasing due to influx from Delhi and other states, and pushing up demand for medical oxygen. The chief secretary was asked to rush urgent supplies to Amritsar, where precious lives were lost on Saturday due to shortage of oxygen.
The CM sought four-hourly reports from principal secretary, industries, on the state’s hospital-wise demand-supply situation of oxygen. The CM’s second letter to the Union health minister followed the Centre’s failure to increase the allocation to Punjab as per the new allocation of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) issued on Saturday, despite his plea for enhancement to at least 250 MT of LMO per day, according to an official spokesperson. Amarinder had on Saturday requested for an increase Punjab’s liquid oxygen quota to 250 MT daily.
“The situation has become very grim over last few days as our supply of LMO has not been able to meet the increased demand,” he wrote on Sunday. He said that despite his request for allocation of 250 MT of LMO per day to Punjab from outside the state, the new allocation of LMO issued on April 24 did not increase the allocation to Punjab, though allocation to other states increased substantially.
He said that Punjab does not have any major LMO production capacity and is largely dependent on the supply from outside the state, thus necessitating the minister’s urgent intervention. Currently, the daily allocation of medical oxygen for Punjab from the central pool is 105 MT, excluding the production of the local ASUs which generate around 60 MT of liquid oxygen and meet requirements of various re-fillers, bottling plants and distributors. There are a few PSA plants in government hospitals (Faridkot, Jalandhar and Ludhiana) and private hospitals which cater to part of their demands and add to the pool of oxygen available for the state.
The spokesperson said the daily requirement as per the present Covid caseload is around 200 MT and around 50 MT for non-Covid patients. “This is expected to rise to around 250-300 MT in the next two weeks as per the projections of case load,” the spokesperson said.