Maha to raise its oxygen production capacity to 3,000 MT: Ajit

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Pune, May 14 (PTI) Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Friday said the state government has set a target of producing 3,000 metric tonnes of oxygen per day to ensure that the state does not face paucity of the life-saving gas.

Speaking to reporters after a review meeting of the COVID-19 situation here, Pawar said measures are being taken to elevate the healthcare infrastructure considering experts' prediction that children will be the most vulnerable during the third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

'The state government has taken a decision to keep a target of producing 3,000 MT of oxygen per day. Currently, the production capacity in the state is over 1,200 MT, but a decision has been taken to increase the production by 1,800 MT to ensure that there is no shortage,' he said.

Pawar, who is also the guardian minister of Pune, also said that several cases of Mucormycosis have been reported in Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad and rural parts of the district.

'As the medicines required for the treatment of the fungal infection are expensive, directives have been issued to ensure that the supply of such drugs is smooth, and to eliminate any possibility of black marketing,' he said.

As experts have predicted that children may be affected in the third wave of the pandemic, a task force comprising paediatricians has been formed and hospitals have been instructed to arrange beds for children, Pawar said.

The country is receiving help in terms of medicine, oxygen and other health resources from other nations, he said.

'The entire aid is going to the Centre and then it is being routed to states. We expect transparency about how much help the country is getting from abroad and how much is being distributed to the states. Help should be given to states based on the number of (COVID-19) cases they have,' he said.

The deputy chief minister also said that as Bharat Biotech is going to produce vaccines at Manjari plant here, the district administration has been asked to provide them all the necessary help with power supply and other facilities.

'The divisional commissioner and collector had visited the plant, and it may take another three months to start producing vaccines at the facility,' he said.

Pawar said he has asked divisional commissioner Saurabh Rao to request the firm to give preference to Maharashtra in getting the vaccine after they fulfil their commitment to the Centre. PTI SPK ARU NP NP

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