Fearing scarcity of medical oxygen, Punjab appoints nodal officers throughout districts to observe provide

Written by Raakhi Jagga
| Ludhiana |

September 13, 2020 2:57:47 pm

At a Covid centre in Ludhiana. (Express photograph: Gurmeet Singh)

With an increase in Covid sufferers needing oxygen, the Punjab authorities has appointed nodal officers throughout districts to make sure that the state faces no hole in provide of medical oxygen. Punjab has sixteen models which are into the enterprise of supplying medical oxygen. On Thursday, DCs of Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Fategarh Sahib, Mohali, Amritsar and Bathinda referred to as conferences of all of the oxygen suppliers and requested them to make sure medical oxygen provide to all hospitals on precedence.

The 16 models within the state have a capability of manufacturing 5,000 cylinders per day in-house, whereas for the remainder of the demand, they depend upon neighbouring states and therefore act as distributors by re-filling cylinders after getting oxygen tankers, which come to totally different models in Punjab from Panipat, Dehradun and Baddi.

Given the Covid surge that the state is dealing with, Ludhiana alone has a day by day demand of 1,000 oxygen cylinders. This is although main hospitals of Ludhiana have their very own oxygen vegetation.

“Having oxygen just isn’t a difficulty, however having an oxygen cylinder is a serious concern. This is inflicting a deficiency as cylinders are restricted in quantity,” mentioned a Haibowal-based physician whereas speaking to The Indian Express. Sources revealed that as affected person load is growing in Punjab hospitals, day by day demand of oxygen is growing manifold. Apart from hospitals, now even persons are asking for oxygen cylinders at dwelling as a variety of sufferers in dwelling isolation don’t need to get admitted to hospitals, mentioned Ravinder Arora, former Ludhiana district president of the BJP. Arora, who can be chairman of NGO Samvedna Trust,

mentioned, “We are offering oxygen cylinders freed from value to needy folks and as of now six cylinders have been despatched to totally different locations. Many others who can afford are even shopping for cylinders for his or her aged sufferers for which even costs have additionally been elevated by suppliers.”

Meanwhile, following instructions by Punjab authorities, Amit Baimby, a PCS officer, has been made nodal officer for oxygen provide associated points in Ludhiana. Apart from this, a Focal Point primarily based unit which was mendacity closed for some causes has been requested to re-manufacture medical oxygen cylinders and therefore 800 medical oxygen cylinders per day will likely be made in Ludhiana’s plant itself quite than relying upon different states.

“This will make Ludhiana self-sufficient as already they’ve capability of refilling 3,000 cylinders as nicely. Oxygen provide just isn’t a difficulty now.” mentioned Ludhiana DC Varinder Sharma.

In Jalandhar, a gathering was held on September 10 the place three oxygen suppliers/cylinder manufacturing unit homeowners have been referred to as. Jalandhar DC Ghanshyam Thori mentioned, “One officer has been made liable for every unit and on the identical time, unit homeowners have been strictly instructed to supply medical oxygen on precedence to hospitals at fastened charges. Action beneath Disaster Management Act will likely be taken towards those who will fail to conform.”

B Srinivasan, DC, Bathinda, mentioned, “Our district and close by districts don’t have any points concerning medical oxygen. However, Civil Surgeon is monitoring the availability concern.”

Meanwhile, charges of refilling cylinders have gone up. While earlier it was Rs 200 per cylinder, throughout the pandemic it has gone barely up for hospitals, whereas non-public residents are getting it for Rs 500. Further, the refundable safety quantity for every cylinder has been elevated to 9,000 from Rs 7,000 earlier. Apart from this, Rs 100 is the cost per day for holding cylinder which earlier was Rs 50.

C Sibin, Director, Industries and Commerce, Punjab mentioned, “We have already written to DCs to take up the problem with oxygen suppliers as deficiency can come within the coming days. At the identical time, we additionally took up matter with Principal Secretaries of Uttrakhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh final week when provide of medical oxygen was coming brief from these states. Now the state of affairs is beneath management and if wanted, we are able to flag the problem but once more.”

Impact on industrial oxygen provide

After strict instructions by Punjab authorities to produce medical oxygen to hospitals on prime precedence, state’s industrial associations are actually frightened that the order will influence provide of commercial oxygen. Both medical and industrial oxygen are manufactured on the identical vegetation. Upkar Singh, president of Chamber of Industrial and Commercial Undertakings (CICU), mentioned, “MSME business of Punjab goes to be hit very onerous from subsequent week, as state authorities has directed oxygen producers/ suppliers to supply oxygen to hospitals initially due to which black advertising of commercial oxygen has began from Saturday itself. We used to get one re-filling of commercial oxygen for Rs 80 per cylinder which has now been priced at Rs 300 per cylinder.”

He added that Ludhiana alone has demand of round 35,000 oxygen cylinders for industrial functions per day that are utilized in metal, welding, engineering and different allied models which can’t operate with out oxygen provide. In addition to this, even meals packaging business additionally wants nitrogen cylinders that are additionally manufactured throughout the identical models and therefore even its provide can be going to be affected.

“Industry needs to be given re-fill cylinders and provide mustn’t come to a halt swiftly,” he mentioned.

Director, Industries, C Sibin mentioned,”We haven’t directed any unit to cease provides to business.”

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