As part of its efforts to address the medical oxygen crisis in the State, the government has planned to import 500 oxygen concentrators from Shanghai, China.
“Oxygen crisis is deepening and COVID-19 patients are suffering as a result. To address the crisis, I have told my contacts in Shanghai to procure 500 oxygen concentrators and send them to Bengaluru by a special flight. They are expected to arrive within four days. If they arrive as expected, I am going to send 100 to Kalaburagi that is among the district that are facing serious oxygen crunch,” Minister for Mines and Geology and Kalaburagi in-charge Murugesh Nirani told media persons here on Tuesday before leaving for Bengaluru to take part in a Cabinet meeting.
The prices of the concentrators of 5 kg and 10 kg capacities, he added, range from ₹35,000 to ₹1.38 lakh and the government would purchase them at competitive prices.
“I have talked to oxygen producers operating from JSW Steel in Ballari to explore the possibility of augmenting liquid medical oxygen supply to Kalaburagi. They have responded positively and expressed their readiness to supply as much oxygen as we want. We are putting in efforts to deploy a dedicated cryogenic oxygen tanker in service for supplying the lifesaving gas to Kalaburagi. I am expecting the tanker to start transporting oxygen to Kalaburagi in a day or two. I have also directed the district authorities to have an agreement with the tanker agency to use the service till the end of the pandemic,” Mr. Nirani said.
To a question, the Minister said that there is no dearth of funds for handling the pandemic. “We can even use DMF [District Mineral Foundation] funds for purchasing medical oxygen, cylinders, drugs and other essentials required for treating COVID-19 patients,” he said.
When asked about the Opposition’s demand for the Chief Minister’s resignation in the backdrop of the Chamarajanagar tragedy in which 24 COVID-19 patients died allegedly due to scarcity of oxygen, Mr. Nirani said that resignation would not solve the problem.
“We should not do politics at the time of a health crisis. The Opposition leaders should, by giving appropriate suggestions, join hands with the government in tackling the pandemic. Resignation is not the solution to the problem,” he said.