- Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to PM Narendra Modi
- Kerala is now left with just 86 metric tonne of buffer, Vijayan said
- As cases rise, the state will need 450 metric tonnes of oxygen by May 15
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, saying his state cannot spare any further oxygen as they have already supplied their buffer stock to neighbouring states and are now left with just 86 metric tonne of buffer.
The state, he wrote, will allow 40 metric tonnes of oxygen to Tamil Nadu till May 10, going by the May 6 decision of the Central Committee of Oxygen Allocation.
"However, after this it will be practically impossible to allow oxygen to be taken out of the state considering the present situation," Mr Vijayan wrote to PM Modi.
Kerala, he wrote, currently has 4,02,640 active cases, and the number is projected to rise to 6,00,000 by May 15. In view of the rapidly growing numbers, the state will need 450 metric tonnes of oxygen by May 15.
The main oxygen producing unit of the state is Inox, located at Kanjikode in Palakkad. Its total production capacity is 150 metric tonne and with other smaller units, the state is producing 219 metric tonne of oxygen each day, Mr Vijayan wrote.
Given that the state is geographically far from the main steel plants, making transfer of oxygen difficult, "I request that the entire oxygen produced in the state, ie 219 MT, may be allocated to the state of Kerala. This may be supplemented by the allocation from steel plants," Mr Vijayan wrote.
Initially, to help manage the oxygen crisis, state had ensured 450 metric tonne of buffer stock, without putting pressure on national grid. But due to demands from neighbouring states, the buffer stock was allowed to be transported.
Mr Vijayan has also requested the Centre for allocation of more cryogenic tankers, which can be pooled by running Oxygen Express trains for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala for transferring additional quantities of liquid medical oxygen.
Kerala, one of the states hit worst by the second Covid wave, has been placed under strict lockdown which will continue till May 16. Only essential movement has been allowed.
The test positivity rate in the state is at 28.88 per cent and only 17.38 per cent of people have been vaccinated.
All government hospitals have been asked to focus on Covid-linked cases, apart from which only emergency services have been allowed. Hospitals in the districts have been asked to prepare oxygen beds.