Oxygen aplenty, but cylinders not reaching patients in time: Goa CM


Oxygen is aplenty in Goa’s hospitals, but the shortage occurs only because the cylinders cannot reach the patients in time, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant said on Tuesday, after personally inspecting facilities in the Covid ward of the state’s top government hospital, the Goa Medical College.

Sawant also said that he was the first Chief Minister in the country to visit a Covid ward and said that the oxygen supply process would be streamlined in a day.

“I saw the arrangement (inside Covid ward) and the problems faced by the people and to see why are deaths (due to oxygen shortage) occurring. No doubt, doctors are working 100 percent. Doctors are taking a lot of effort. Patients have said that the doctors are going out of their way to help them,” Sawant told reporters after visiting the Covid ward.

“We have 100 percent oxygen, but I am thinking now that we are unable to get the oxygen to patients on time. We have abundant oxygen, but if cylinders are not given in time, there is no point in having oxygen (stock). The time taken to get the cylinders in place is important,” Sawant said.

During his Covid ward visit, relatives of patients complained to the Chief Minister about lack of oxygen availability, especially at night, which caused hardship to patients.

Sawant said that the problem would be resolved in “one day” and that the streamlining process would be put in place after a meeting with heads of departments later on Tuesday.

The Chief Minister also said that the hospital’s main oxygen provider, Scoop Industries private limited, should take responsibility for not being able to tackle the supply crisis at the top government health facility and warned that the government would not hesitate taking over the oxygen manufacturing unit, using pandemic related laws.

“Scoop (industries) should take responsibility. It is a 10-year contract (to supply oxygen). He cannot pass the buck to the government. The government has supported (Scoop) in every possible way. We can take over anything… If (Scoop) creates a problem, I will not tolerate it,” Sawant said.

Sawant responded sharply to criticism of his government, especially his leadership, at the time of crisis. “People have said that we have not seen a CM like this, but this is the first time such a pandemic has struck,” Sawant said, adding that he was the “first chief minister” in the country to visit a Covid ward.