In SOS letter to Centre, Captain red flags depleting oxygen supplies in Punjab

The CM had on Saturday written to the Union Health Minister requesting for an increase Punjab’s liquid oxygen quota to 250 MT daily due to continuous surge of Covid cases, seeking his urgent personal intervention in this regard.

Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday sent another SOS letter to Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, for the second time in two days, for urgent increase in allocation of quota as the government said oxygen supplies in the state depleting fast.

He also directed Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to pursue with the Union government the matter of 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. He further asked the Chief Secretary to rush urgent supplies to Amritsar, where precious lives were lost Saturday due to shortage of Oxygen in a private hospital.

Given the criticality of the situation, the Chief Minister has sought four-hourly reports from Principal Secretary Industries on the state’s hospital-wise demand-supply situation of Oxygen, the statement said.

The 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 CM’s plea for enhancement to at least 250 MT of LMO per day.

The CM had on Saturday written to the Union Health Minister requesting for an increase Punjab’s liquid oxygen quota to 250 MT daily due to continuous surge of Covid cases, seeking his urgent personal intervention in this regard.

Writing in continuation of his earlier letter, the Chief Minister, on Sunday, said: “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 further wrote that despite his request for allocation of at least 250 MT of LMO per day to Punjab from outside the state, the new allocation of LMO issued on April 24 by Government of India did not increase the allocation to Punjab, though allocation to other states increased substantially.

Pointing to the Amritsar tragedy, he observed 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 Centra pool is 105 MT, excluding the production of the local ASUs which generate around 60 MT of liquid oxygen within Punjab and meet requirements of various re-fillers, bottling plants and distributors. There are a few PSA plants in government hospitals (GMCH Faridkot, DH Jalandhar & Ludhiana) and private hospitals which cater to part of their demands.

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