Karnataka's former Chief Minister Siddaramaiah today weighed in on the debate over oxygen availability, contending that oxygen produced in Karnataka should remain in the state. The Central allocation for Karnataka, he said, is less than half its requirement and in a series of tweets, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the state's quota.
The demand for oxygen has been skyrocketing in the state as the Covid numbers shoot up. On Tuesday, seven COVID patients died in hospitals at Kalaburagi and Belagavi -- allegedly due to oxygen shortage.
This morning, Mr Siddaramaiah tweeted: "Oxygen produced in Karnataka should be reserved for our State only. The allocated oxygen share for Karnataka is less than 50% of the actual demand. I urge @PMOIndia to increase the supply of oxygen based on the actual demand."
Oxygen produced in Karnataka should be reserved for our State only. The allocated oxygen share for Karnataka is less than 50% of the actual demand.— Siddaramaiah (@siddaramaiah) May 5, 2021
I urge @PMOIndia to increase the supply of oxygen based on the actual demand.#OxygenCrisis
"I have discussed with Chief Secretary & Principal Secretary of @DHFWKA regarding oxygen shortage. I have told them to ensure seamless supply of oxygen to Chamarajanagar district hospital & they have assured to have already taken necessary action," read another tweet.
The second wave of Covid has hit Karnataka hard. The state has reported 17.4 lakh infections so far, of which 4.8 lakh are active cases -- a number large enough to stress out the healthcare system, leaving doctors and patients to fend for themselves..
Over the last 24 hours, Karnataka, in a first, reported more than 50,000 fresh cases -- nearly half of them in state capital Bengaluru. The state also logged 346 new deaths, taking its total number of fatalities to 16,884.
Mr Siddaramaiah's assertion comes amid a huge oxygen crisis across the country, especially in national capital Delhi, where 38 people have died after their hospitals ran out of oxygen.
With the daily Covid surge remaining above 3 lakh for nearly two weeks, hospitals are at a breaking point, short of beds, drugs and oxygen. Last week, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana accused each other of diverting oxygen tankers and creating a shortage.