Bengal asks Centre not to divert medical oxygen available in state

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Kolkata, Apr 23 (PTI) With the rising demand for medical oxygen due to the surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, the West Bengal government has written to the Centre urging it not to divert the life-saving gas which is available in the state, a senior official said on Friday.

The letter by the West Bengal health department followed the allotment of 200 MT of oxygen, from different plants located in West Bengal, to outside it by the Union ministry of health and family welfare.

In the communication dated April 22, the state mentioned that going by the 'current patient load and the rising trend of the infections, the consumption level in West Bengal will radically rise to roughly 450 MT per day in the next couple of weeks.

'Hence, present allocation of liquid oxygen to outside West Bengal will jeopardise the medical treatment of COVID-19 patients in the state. The state government has accordingly requested the Centre to consider the need of the state and NOT to divert the medical oxygen available in the state to elsewhere,' the communication read.

Meanwhile, it has been made mandatory for air passengers from Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Chhattisgarh to West Bengal to carry COVID-19 negative test reports with them from Monday, an official said.

The RT-PCR test should be conducted 72 hours before the date of travel, he said.

The state has already made it 'compulsory' for air passengers from Kerala, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Telangana to carry COVID-19 negative reports while travelling to West Bengal. PTI SCH MM MM