As virus cases surge, Punjab seeks more oxygen tankers from Centre

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Chandigarh, May 3 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh Monday appealed to the Centre for more oxygen tankers, saying the state did not have enough tankers to transport oxygen for seriously ill Covid-19 patients.

At a Covid-19 review meeting here, the chief minister said the state urgently needs more tankers as it currently has only 15 at its disposal, with two more likely to come in by Tuesday.

These were not enough to handle the requirement for transporting the oxygen supplies coming in from other states, the CM said, according to a government release here.

Punjab has a 195 metric tonne allocation from various plants in other states, but the actual supply received over the past seven days has been around 110-120 MT daily, which has also been erratic, Singh said.

In this period, the number of patients on oxygen support has gone up from 4,000 to around 9,000, and though the state government's steps to monitor and streamline supplies through its control rooms has helped in keeping things stable, the situation remains fluid and a matter of concern, he said.

The current consumption of oxygen in the state is more than 225 MT daily, while the average increase in demand every day is around 15-20 per cent, he said.

Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan told the meeting that in addition to the shortage of trucks available with transporters in the state, the fact that a tanker takes around 4-5 days to bring the 90 MT quota allocation from a plant in Jharkhand's Bokaro has made things worse.

Unless the state gets more tankers, the situation could aggravate, she added.

In addition to 90 MT from Bokaro, the state's current allocation is 60 MT from a plant in Baddi in Himachal Pradesh, 20 MT from Panipat in Haryana, 15 MT from Roorkee in Uttarakhand and 10 MT from Dehradun.

Besides, around 80 MT is generated daily within the state, and steps are being taken to increase production on a continuous basis, she said, adding, however, that this was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand.

Medical Education Minister OP Soni said more oxygen cylinders were also needed at government hospitals to meet the growing requirement. PTI CHS VSD TIR TIR