Punjab CM write to Centre, demands increase in oxygen quota

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Chandigarh, Apr 25 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday wrote to Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, urging for an increase in the state’s medical oxygen quota.

This is the second time in as many days when the chief minister has written to the Centre, highlighting depleting supplies.

Currently, the daily consumption of medical oxygen in the state is around 200 metric tonnes (MT), which is expected to rise to around 250-300 MT in the next two weeks.

The CM directed Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan to pursue the matter with the Union government, with the caseload increasing due to an influx of patients from Delhi and other neighbouring states, pushing up the demand for medical oxygen, a statement said.

He also directed to rush urgent supplies to Amritsar, where six people died due to a shortage of oxygen at a private hospital on Saturday.

He also asked the Principal Secretary (Industries) to report him after every four hours about the hospital-wise demand for oxygen.

“Today's 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 issued on Saturday, despite a plea for enhancement to at least 250 MT (metric tonnes) of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) per day,” the statement said.

The CM on Sunday wrote, “The situation has become very grim over the past a few days as our supply of LMO has not been able to meet the increased demand.” Amarinder Singh said despite his request for the allocation of at least 250 MT of oxygen per day to Punjab from outside the state, the demand was not met.

He said Punjab does not have any major liquid medical oxygen production capacity and is largely dependent on the supply from other states, thus necessitating the minister's urgent intervention.

Currently, the daily allocation of medical oxygen to Punjab from the Central pool is 105 MT, excluding the production of the local units which generate around 60 MT of liquid oxygen.

There are a few pressure swing adsorption (PSA) plants in government and private hospitals which cater to part of their demands and add to the pool of oxygen available for the state.

The state has a capacity to store around 370 MT of liquid oxygen. PTI CHS VSD RDK RDK