Ashwani Kumar urges PM to raise supply of oxygen, vaccine to Punjab
Former Union minister for law and justice Ashwani Kumar has called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi for assistance to Punjab in the fight against Covid-19, urging that the availability of oxygen and vaccine doses in the state be ramped up urgently.
The Prime Minister on Sunday spoke to the chief ministers of Punjab and three other states on the Covid-19 situation, according to people aware of the matter, a development that comes amid a steep surge in cases in the region.
“Considering the particular vulnerabilities of Punjab, an aggressive vaccination drive and adequate supply of oxygen for the seriously ill patients is a compelling need of the state,” Kumar wrote in a letter to PM Modi.
“As regards the availability of oxygen, the present demand of the state is 280 MT per day as against the availability of about 150 MT. This demand could increase substantially in the days ahead considering the obvious possibilities, for which it is necessary to keep a reasonable buffer,” he added in the letter dated May 8.
“The doses required for vaccination of persons between the age group of 18 to 44 is 2.6 crore for which orders have been placed by the state government. Out of this, 30 lakh doses are required by May 21 but the supplies may not match this demand unless ensured by the central government. Similarly, for vaccination of those at 45 and above, 1.6crore doses are required for double dose vaccination against which only 40.50 lakh doses have been received by the state government through govt. of India,” Kumar wrote.
Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Saturday reiterated that violation of the weekend lockdown in Punjab will not be allowed given the Covid-19 situation. Kumar praised the Punjab CM’s leadership, saying that he took “timely initiatives to contain the pandemic in the state”.