The Madhya Pradesh government has banned the industrial use of oxygen to meet the medical crisis in the state even as the centre said it will supply 50 tonnes to them every day to meet its daily requirement of 110 tonnes. The oxygen availability will now be 180 tonnes every day after the centre’s supply, 70 tonnes in surplus, the state government has claimed.
The decision comes after NDTV reported on the oxygen crisis in the state last week, pushing the government to take corrective measures. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had said “alternate arrangements” were made and said will take the state’s production capacity from 50 tonnes to 150 tonnes by September 30.
Last week, four coronavirus patients died at a hospital in Dewas district, and several others were left with inadequate levels of oxygen for nearly seven hours, after Maharashtra – from where a percentage of the state’s store of oxygen is purchased – limited that supply.
The government had admitted to a problem with the supply of oxygen, but has also insisted that the deaths had nothing to do with that issue.
Madhya Pradesh now has more than 90,000 coronavirus cases and the state saw its highest single-day jump of 2,483 on Monday. For the past five days, 2,000 new infections are being reported daily on an average.
The state plans to triple the capacity in hospitals by October to 3,600 oxygen beds and 564 ICU beds. It is a given that more oxygen will be needed to cope with the pandemic.
Medical Education Minister Vishwas Sarang said, “This is part of our short-term plan because the immediate need is being taken care of as nothing except packing needs to be changed to convert oxygen from industrial to medical use. All the industrial oxygen supplying units in the state have been ordered not to refill any industrial cylinders. Only medical cylinders will be refilled at those units.”
The decision to ban the industrial use of oxygen was first taken in the state’s worst-affected Indore three days back as per the orders issued by the Collector and District Magistrate.
“Now oxygen plants and its suppliers will be able to provide oxygen only to hospitals,” the order read.