After Sidhu, now Congress MLA Pargat Singh criticises Amarinder over 2015 Faridkot firing probe

Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought the immediate intervention of both the Prime Minister and the Union Home Minister to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen to the state on a day when the number of Covid patients on varying levels of oxygen support in the state went up to 10000.

In separate letters to Narendra Modi and Amit Shah, Captain Amarinder Singh sought 50 MT additional Liquid Medical Oxygen allocation and 20 more oxygen tankers.

Expressing deep concern over the imminent loss of lives due to oxygen shortage across the state, Amarinder said that with the mounting caseload, he was unable to increase Level 2 and Level 3 beds due to constraints in the availability of oxygen. 

The state was facing the prospect of a shortage of oxygen beds, the CM wrote, pointing out that the Union Government had expressed its inability to even allow Punjab’s local industry to undertake commercial import of Liquid Medical Oxygen from Pakistan through the nearby Wagah-Attari border. 

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Further, despite an assurance that “adequate supply would be ensured to us from alternate sources I regret to point out that this has not happened”, Captain Amarinder wrote.

The total allocation of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from outside the state is currently 195 MT, of which 90 MT is from Bokaro in eastern India. The balance 105 MT comes from LMO facilities in Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. However, Punjab is not getting its daily allocated quota, he said. The existing backlog for Punjab from these LMO facilities is 5.6 MT from Panipat (Haryana), 100 MT from Sela Qui, Dehradun (Uttarakhand) and 10 MT from Roorkee, he added.

Pointing out that Punjab had now been given to understand by the Centre that there would be likely disruption of LMO supply from Tuesday from Panipat and Barotiwala, he wrote that this could lead to great stress on the already limited oxygen availability in the state, thus causing a medical emergency, including risking the lives of a large number of patients in a critical condition and on regular oxygen support. 

The disruption should be avoided, he said, adding that, if necessary, the state must be compensated immediately from a nearby additional source.

Referring to the shortage of tankers, Amarinder said the state was airlifting two empty tankers daily to Ranchi, with the filled tankers returning by road from Bokaro on a 48-50 hours journey.

He said that the state government had already requested the Centre to allocate 20 additional tankers (conducive to rail travel) to allow for a regular evacuation of 90 MT LMO from Bokaro on a daily basis, but had been told that only two would be provided, and even those were yet to come.

He urged the Prime Minister and the Home Minister to step in immediately to help resolve the major crisis.