Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought the immediate intervention of Prime Minister Narendra and Home Minister Amit Shah in ensuring uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen to the State.
The Chief Minister sent separate letters to Mr. Modi and Mr. Shah, as the number of COVID-19 patients on oxygen support went up to 10,000 in the State.
Expressing concern over the imminent loss of lives due to oxygen shortage, Capt. Amarinder said with a mounting caseload, he was unable to increase the number of Level 2 and Level 3 beds due to oxygen availability constraints.
The State was facing the prospect of shortage of oxygen beds, he said, pointing out that the Government of India had expressed its inability to even allow Punjab’s local industry to undertake commercial import of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari border.
Despite assurances from the Centre that “adequate supply would be ensured to us from other sources, I regret to point out that this has not happened,” said Captain Amarinder.
The total allocation of LMO from outside the State is currently 195 metric tonnes (MT) per day, of which 90 MT is from Bokaro in eastern India. The remaining 105 MT comes from facilities in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Punjab is not getting its daily allocated quota, said the Chief Minister.
The existing backlog for Punjab from these facilities is 5.6 MT from Panipat (Haryana), 100 MT from Sela Qui, Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and 10 MT from Roorkee (Uttarakhand), he added.
Pointing out that Punjab had now been given to understand by the Centre that there would be likely disruption of oxygen supply from May 4 from Panipat and Barotiwala, the Chief Minister said this would cause great stress on the already limited availability, thus causing a medical emergency, including risk of loss of life for a large number of patients.