A disruption is likely in the oxygen supply from Panipat and Barotiwala starting today, the Centre has indicated, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today. The government, he added, has also expressed its inability to allow Punjab's local industry to undertake commercial import of oxygen from Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari border. This, he said, would cause great stress on Punjab's healthcare system. Around 10,000 patients are surviving on varying levels of oxygen support in the state, he added.
The Chief Minister said he has requested the Centre to help in view of the number of critical patients. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have been asked to step in immediately to help resolve the crisis with an additional 50 metric tonne of oxygen and 20 tankers.
While the state was airlifting two empty tankers daily to Ranchi, the full tankers are coming by road -- a journey of two days.
Despite assurance that "adequate supply would be ensured to us from alternate sources, I regret to point out that this has not happened," the Chief Minister said.
Expressing deep concern over the possible loss of lives, he said the state he has been unable to increase the number of Level 2 and Level 3 beds (for patients in moderate and critical condition) due to oxygen availability constraints.
The state's total oxygen quota is 195 metric tonne, of which 90 metric tonne comes from Bokaro in eastern India. The balance 105 metric tonne comes from facilities in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
The Chief Minister said Punjab has not been receiving its allocated quota.
The existing backlog includes 5.6 metric tonne from Haryana's Panipat, 100 metric tonne from Sela Qui in Uttarakhand and 10 metric tonne from Roorkee, he added.