Punjab asks Centre to provide more oxygen tankers


Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday appealed to the Centre for more oxygen tankers to be made available to the state, which did not have enough such vehicles to transport the life-saving gas for seriously ill Covid-19 patients.

The Chief Minister, at the Covid review meeting, said the state urgently need more tankers, as it currently had only 15 at its disposal, with two more likely to come in by Tuesday.

These, he said, were not enough to handle the requirement for transporting the oxygen supplies coming in from other states.

Punjab has 195 metric tonnes (MT) allocation from various plants in other states, but the actual supply received over the past seven days has been around 110-120 MT daily, and this has also been erratic, the Chief Minister noted.

In this period, the number of patients on oxygen support has gone up from 4,000 to around 9,000, and though the state government’s steps to monitor and streamline supplies through its controls rooms has helped in keeping things stable, the situation remains fluid and a matter of concern, he added.

The current consumption of oxygen in the state is more than 225 MT daily, while the average increase in demand every day is around 15-20 per cent.

Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan told the meeting that in addition to the shortage of trucks available with transporters in the state, the fact that a tanker takes around four-five days to bring the 90 MT quota allocation from a Bokaro plant has made things worse.

Unless the state gets more tankers, the situation could aggravate, she added.

In addition to 90 MT from Bokaro, the state’s current allocation is: 60 MT from a plant in Himachal Pradesh’s Baddi, 20 MT from a plant in Haryana’s Panipat, and 15 MT from a plant in Roorkee and 10 MT from plant in Dehradun, both in Uttarakhand.

Besides, around 80 MT is generated daily from the state ASUs & local PSA, and steps are being taken to increase production on a continuous basis, she said, adding, however, that this was not sufficient to meet the increasing demand.

Medical Education Minister O.P. Soni said more oxygen cylinders were also needed at government hospitals to meet the growing requirement.