Have urged Railways to help transport medical oxygen to MP: CM

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Bhopal, Apr 14 (PTI) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Wednesday said he has urged the Railways to facilitate the transportation of medical oxygen to the state for its speedy delivery amid the COVID-19 surge.

Talking to reporters here, Chouhan also said there is no shortage Remdesivir injections in the state-run hospitals, and the government will also provide the key anti-viral drug to private hospitals.

Chouhan said he has also directed officials to transport Remdesivir injections by using planes, if needed.

Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday reported a record spike of 8,998 COVID-19 cases and 40 casualties.

Medical-grade oxygen is used for the treatment of critical COVID-19 patients and in other cases of respiratory diseases.

'I accept that the availability of oxygen is a challenge. I have made a suggestion and requested Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to see if oxygen tankers can be loaded on goods trains. I don't know if it is possible practically or not,' Chouhan told reporters here.

This will save the time taken for the transportation of oxygen tankers from places like Rourkela (Odisha) and Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), located far from MP, he said.

'We are tracking oxygen tankers. It is taking a lot of time. The oxygen tankers are being escorted by police to ensure they reach on time without any hindrance. I feel uneasy even if a tanker gets late by an hour,' he said.

On Tuesday, 272 metric tonne (MT) oxygen was available in the state. It was increased to 280 MT on Wednesday, the chief minister said.

'I am talking to people concerned at every level to increase the availability of oxygen. The Centre is also helping. I have appealed to increase the supply from Bhilai.

We are also making efforts to check the unnecessary use of oxygen,' Chouhan said.

He also said that oxygen concentrator units (a device that filters air and produces purified medical-grade oxygen) were being installed in medical facilities for adequate supply of the oxygen to COVID-19 patients.

'Oxygen concentrators are being installed at eight places. We have ordered for 2,000 such devices,' he said.

Chouhan further said the state had received 31,000 Remdesivir injections and 12,000 more will arrive by Thursday morning.

'I have also directed officials to use a helicopter or plane for the transportation of injections, if needed,' he told reporters after planting a sapling at the Smart City Park here.

Earlier, Chouhan cancelled his visit to Damoh for campaigning for the Assembly bypoll scheduled there on April 17, citing his engagements to ensure the availability of resources to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madhya Pradesh on Tuesday recorded 8,998 fresh coronavirus cases, the biggest single-day spike since the pandemic began, which pushed the infection count to 3,53,632.

The fatality count rose to 4,261 with 40 more deaths reported on Tuesday.

The state has recorded 58,121 new cases and 275 fatalities so far this month, as per official data. PTI ADU ARU GK GK