Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has revealed that the Centre has rejected his government’s proposal to import liquid oxygen from Pakistan.
In a press release issued by the Punjab government on Tuesday, the Punjab CM was quoted as saying that “the Government of India had expressed its inability to even allow Punjab’s local industry to undertake commercial import of LMO [liquid medical oxygen] from Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari border, which is geographically proximate”.
In the release, the CM further said that the Centre had failed to provide an “adequate supply of oxygen from alternate sources”.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh on Tuesday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking their urgent intervention in ensuring an uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen to the state.
He also sought additional allocation of 50 MT LMO from a nearby source and 20 additional tankers, preferably conducive to rail travel for timely evacuation of oxygen from Bokaro.
Expressing concern over the imminent loss of lives due to oxygen shortage across the state, the chief minister said with mounting caseload, he was unable to increase Level 2 and Level 3 beds due to oxygen availability constraints.
The total allocation of LMO from outside the state is currently 195 MT, of which 90 MT is from Bokaro in eastern India.
The balance 105 MT comes from LMO facilities in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
However, Punjab is not getting its daily allocated quota, said the chief minister.
The existing backlog for Punjab from these LMO facilities is 5.6 MT from Panipat (Haryana), 100 MT from Sela Qui, Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and 10 MT from Roorkee, he added.
Referring to the shortage of tankers, the chief minister said the state was airlifting two empty tankers daily to Ranchi, with the filled tankers returning by road from Bokaro on a 48-50 hours journey.
The chief minister said that the state government had already requested the Centre to allocate 20 additional tankers, conducive to rail travel, to allow for the regular evacuation of 90 MT LMO from Bokaro on a daily basis, but had been told that only two would be provided, and even those were yet to come.