The Indian Express

Demand up 67% as 22 states seek oxygen

The demand for medical oxygen has increased 67 per cent in nine days to April 24, according to information collated from oxygen allocation orders issued by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It further shows the demand has spread from 12 states on April 15 to 22 states on April 24.

Official records show that Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan had on April 15 written to the Additional Secretaries/ Principal Secretaries/Secretaries (Health) of 12 states informing them about oxygen allocation against their demand for the week beginning April 20. These states are Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

In his letter, Bhushan provided details of the generation units from which these dozen states were being provided oxygen. The states had cumulatively demanded 4,880 metric tonnes of medical oxygen for the week beginning April 20, and allocations were accordingly made.

Within 10 days, another letter by Nipun Vinayak, Joint Secretary, MoH&FW to state health officials on April 24 informed them about allocation against their demand for oxygen from April 25 onwards. This shows that the number of states seeking oxygen allocation from the Centre has risen to 22; their combined demand had also risen to 8,172 MT a day, 67 per cent higher than the combined demand shown in the Health Secretary’s April 15 letter.

Vinayak’s letter shows that the Centre had allocated 8,280 MT medical oxygen a day to these 22 states. The new states demanding oxygen are Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, J&K, Goa, Chandigarh, Himachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Dadra and Nagar Haveli Daman and Diu.

“The supply plan has been prepared under the overall guidance of the Empowered Group by the DPIIT (Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade) in consultation with the concerned ministries, states, oxygen manufacturers and AIIGMA (All India Industrial Gases Manufacturers Association),” Vinayak said in the letter.

The top five states with the highest demand for medical oxygen for the week starting April 25 are Maharashtra (1,784 MT/day), Gujarat (1,000), Karnataka (770), UP (657) and MP (640).

Of the 22 states which were allocated oxygen on April 24, four states have been allocated a higher quantity against their demand, four have been given a lower allocation in comparison to their demand, and 14 have been allocated the quantity demanded.

The states, which have got higher oxygen allocation are: UP (857 MT/day against demand of 657); Karnataka (802 MT/day against demand of 770); Delhi (490 MT/day against demand of 470); and MP (649 MT/day against demand of 640).

The states, which have been provided oxygen less than what they demanded are: Haryana (allocation of 162 MT/day against demand of 180); Gujarat (975 MT/day against demand of 1,000); Punjab (137 MT/day against demand of 187); and Tamil Nadu (280 MT/day against demand of 220).

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