CHANDIGARH: Facing medical shortages oxygen supply for Covid-19 patients, Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh urged the Center to secure seamless oxygen supplies, with at least 120 MT daily allocation for the state. He also reiterated his request for urgent action to establish two forthcoming PSA factories that he had approved two months ago.
In a letter to Union minister of health and family welfare Harsh Vardhan, the prime minister sought immediate consideration of his request for uninterrupted supplies of oxygen from the Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) suppliers in line with the daily commitment. He also requested that allocation to Punjab be kept at least 120 MT per day excluding (22 MT) Punjab quota in supply to PGIMER, Chandigarh.
While the storage capacity of medical oxygen for all healthcare facilities in the state is around 300 MT, daily medical oxygen consumption in line with the current caseload in Punjab is around 105-110 MT, the chief noted Minister, adding that this is expected to rise further to around 150-170 MT over the next two weeks in line with projected increases in hospital admissions due to the increased caseload.
Amarinder noted that as the main requirement of the state is fulfilled from the outside, keeping supply in line with the allocation made by the Center for all states, including Punjab, is essential to be able to meet ‘ r daily requirements. The Central Oxygen Management Group had allocated 126 MT (including 32 MT from local ASUs) on April 15, 2021. However, the allocation has subsequently been reduced to 82 MT from the week of April 25, 2021, said the prime minister, adding this allocation would be very inadequate to meet demand. Further, the central allocation control room has tied Punjab allocation with Chandigarh Union territory (22MT) which further reduces the allocation for Punjab, he added.
Demand is currently being met by manufacturers, refueling, state ASUs and PSA plants in a few of the areas, both government and private sector. He said that the biggest constraint that Punjab is facing is the supply to the manufacturers / distributors and the refueling for liquid oxygen is being carried out by manufacturers from out of state ( Inox, Baddi, HP; Air Liquide Panipat and Roorkee; and Linde, Selaqui, Dehradun) since there is no LMO plant in the state.
On the two upcoming pressure swing adsorption (PSA) factories, approved by the government of India (GoI) earlier two months for the Government Medical College and Hospitals (GMCHs) in Patiala and Amritsar, urged the Union minister to begin the process for their rapid establishment, in order to reduce the oxygen requirement from LMO suppliers.