(Eds: Adding quotes) Mumbai/Jalna, Apr 14 (PTI) Maharashtra has approached neighbouring states for medical oxygen supply amid the COVID-19 surge, but they have expressed their inability due to its high demand there, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
Talking to reporters here, Tope said Maharashtra will have to reduce the wastage of medical oxygen as it is in high demand now.
He told reporters in Jalna that the state government has directed oxygen manufacturers to supply it only for medical purposes and not for industrial use.
Medical-grade oxygen is used for the treatment of critical COVID-19 patients and in other cases of respiratory diseases.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Tuesday said there is a shortage of medical oxygen and the Centre should help supply it for coronavirus patients in the state by using Air Force planes.
On Wednesday, Tope said, 'We have approached all the neighbouring states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to supply oxygen for medical purpose, but owing to their own rising demand, these states have expressed their inability to supply oxygen.' Hence, Maharashtra needs to reduce its wastage and work on fixing its leakages (wherever found), he said.
On Monday, Tope said plants in Maharashtra are producing 1,200 metric tonnes of oxygen per day and the entire stock is being used for medical purposes in view of the rising COVID-19 cases.
The demand is expected to go up to 1,500 to 1,600 metric tonnes every day, state Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Rajendra Shingne said on Tuesday.
Tope earlier said the state government had decided to set up plants in hospitals which can separate and purify oxygen from the atmosphere and provide it to patients.
Speaking to reporters in Jalna, Tope said the state government has directed oxygen manufacturers to supply it only for medical purposes and not for industrial use.
He said district collectors should take action against erring manufacturers.
He said the state health department is planning to generate oxygen through Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) technology to tide over the oxygen shortage.
'This technology is already in place in Gadhinglaj town in Kolhapur district and now the PSA system is being set up in Ghansawangi tehsil in Jalna district and also in Nagpur.
'It is a simple technology which incurs low cost. PSA is the air separation technology and oxygen is generated from the environment,' the health minister said.
On the shortage of Remdesivir injections for COVID-19 patients, Tope directed Jalna district collector and the Food Drugs Administration (FDA) to supply them to private hospitals via a centralised method.
'We have started to distributeRemdesivir injections to private hospitals through the district administration,' he said.
Tope said 10,000 injections of Remdesivir were distributed to private hospitals in Jalna on Wednesday.
He said the district administration should purchase Remdesivir directly from the manufacturers after assessing the demand from private hospitals, which will prevent hoarding.
The health minister appealed to private hospitals to use Remdesivir drug judiciously and as per the guidelines issued by the COVID-19 task force.
'It is observed that some private hospitals are prescribing this injection to even moderate and asymptotic patients,' he added. PTI ND COR GK NSK NSK