Kerala seeks PM’S help over oxygen crisis
TRIVANDRUM: Kerala has approached Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his help to overcome the looming medical oxygen shortage crisis in the state ensuring adequate supply.
On Tuesday, Kerala also lost three of its prominent citizens - legendary communist politician KR Gouri, 102, writer Madampu Kunjukutan, 81, and filmmaker Dennis Joseph, 63.
In a leter to Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wanted major producers to stop supplying oxygen to other states while Kerala’s requirement is rising by the day.
Of the combined capacity of 219 metric tonnes, a Palakkad-based company produces more than three-fourths while the state-owned Kerala Minerals and Metals makes just 7 metric tonnes.
Federal entities like Shipyard and Bharat Petroleum Corporation together contribute around 50 metric tonnes.
“We have been working to optimise oxygen supply by ensuring that there are no leakages or excessive use in hospitals,” he said in the leter.
“At present, there are 402,650 active cases and the projected number of patients may rise to around 600,000 by May 15. (It) will necessitate around 450 MT ( a day).”
Vijayan requested Modi for additional allocation given the rising demand and running “oxygen express trains” to Kerala.
He said the state was maintaining a buffer stock of 450 MT without any pressure on the national grid but they were being sent to other states “as and when required.”
“Due to demand from the neighbouring states, the buffer stock was allowed to be transported and now (it’s) only 86 MT,” his leter says.
“Ater (sending 40 MT a day to Tamil Nadu till May 10), it will be practically impossible to allow oxygen to be taken outside the state considering the present situation.”
“As Kerala is geographically located far away from main steel plants,” he said, “transferring oxygen within a short time is very difficult.”
He requested him to allocate the entire oxygen produced in Kerala to the state itself and supplement it with allocation from steel plants.
He also wanted him to procure and allocate cryo tankers to Kerala at the earliest for supplying the liquid medical oxygen to the states.
The federal government has sanctioned three more oxygen plants for Kerala with the test-positivity rate almost reaching 30 per cent and the virus surge continues.