CM asks govt. for at least 120MT daily allocation as State faces shortage
Punjab has requested the Central government to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply for the State.
Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Wednesday wrote to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan seeking at least 120 MT daily allocation of oxygen for Punjab.
He also reiterated urgent steps to set up two pending Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants approved by the Centre two months ago.
In his letter, the Chief Minister sought immediate consideration to his request for uninterrupted oxygen supplies from the Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) suppliers as per commitment on daily basis. He also requested that allocation to Punjab be kept at least at 120 MT daily excluding (22 MT) of Punjab quota in supply to Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh.
While the capacity for storage of oxygen for all healthcare facilities in the State is around 300 MT, daily requirement as per the present case load is 105-110 MT, the Chief Minister pointed out, adding that this figure was expected to rise.
Captain Singh noted that since the main requirement of the State is fulfilled from outside, adherence of supply as per the allocation made by the Centre for all States, including Punjab, is critical to be able to meet the daily requirements. The Central Control Group on Oxygen had allocated 126 MT (including 32 MT from the local ASUs) on April 15. However, the allocation has subsequently been reduced to 82 MT from the week of April 25, said the Chief Minister, adding this allocation would be grossly insufficient to meet the demand. Further, the Central allocation control room has clubbed allocation of Punjab with the Union Territory of Chandigarh (22MT) which further reduces the allocation for Punjab, he added.
Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), meanwhile hit out at Congress government in Punjab, demanding the State government to present a ‘white paper’ surrounding the usage ₹1,000 crore in public funds to upgrade hospital infrastructure in the State to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Former minister Sikander Singh Maluka alleging the healthcare system in Punjab has collapsed completely, challenged the State government to list how and where it had spent ₹1,000 crore to combat the pandemic. “People are shunning government hospitals due to lack of facilities as well as simple medicines” he said.
The SAD leader said the government had mismanaged the pandemic situation from the very start due to which the mortality rate in Punjab was the highest in the country. “There were scams in the supply of PPE kits. Private hospitals were allowed to over-charge COVID-19 patients. There was no check of fraudulent diagnostic practices. Even now there is no system to guide people about availability of beds as well as specialised care, including ventilators due to which the mortality rate is not going down,” said Mr. Maluka.