States Should Keep Demand for Oxygen Under Control: Piyush Goyal
He said the Central government had decided that 6,177 metric tonnes of oxygen will be distributed to states.
Amid reports of severe shortage of medical oxygen in various parts of India, chief among them Maharashtra and Delhi, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal on Sunday, 18 April, said that states should keep the "demand under control", according to news agency ANI.
“State governments should keep demand (for medical oxygen) under control. Demand management is as important as supply management,” he said, adding that containing the spread of COVID-19 is the responsibility of state governments and they should fulfil this.
Claiming that some COVID patients were unnecessarily being given oxygen, he reiterated that people who need it should be provided as much as required.
"If cases continue to rise unchecked, a major challenge will come up for the healthcare infrastructure of the country. We are with state governments, but they need to manage the demand and take concrete steps to contain COVID-19 spread," Goyal added.
The Union minister also said that after an elaborate meeting with 12 states, the Central government had decided that 6,177 metric tonnes of oxygen will be distributed to states.
Maharashtra will get the biggest share of 1,500 MT of oxygen, Delhi will get 350 MT and Uttar Pradesh 800 MT, Goyal said, according to ANI.
Talking about measures to increase oxygen supply to hospitals, Goyal said, “Except for nine sectors, supply of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers will be prohibited from 22 April as a temporary measure.”
Goyal Hits Out at Thackeray
On Saturday, Goyal had hit out at Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray for his remarks about availability of oxygen in the state, saying that Maharashtra had so far received the highest quantity of oxygen in the country.
In a series of tweets on Saturday, Goyal said, "Saddened to see Thackeray's gimmicks on oxygen. The Government of India, with all stakeholders, is ensuring maximum oxygen production in India. We are currently at 110 percent of our oxygen production capacity and diverting all available oxygen for industrial use to medical use."
In another tweet, Goyal said, "Maharashtra has so far received the highest quantity of Oxygen in India. The Centre is in touch with the state Governments on daily basis to assess their needs and help them in the best possible manner."
Goyal pointed out that on Friday, the Prime Minister in his review meeting said that the Centre and the states should work with synergy in this crisis. "With this background, shocked and saddened to see petty politics being played by Thackeray. He needs to stop his daily dose of shameless politics and take responsibility," Goyal said, adding that Maharashtra was suffering due to an inept and corrupt government.
India is dealing with a severe shortage of oxygen and severe reports of patients and their families scrambling to secure supply of oxygen have emerged. On Sunday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said that there was a shortage of oxygen in the national capital, which has been reeling under the effect of the second wave of COVID-19.
India on Monday, 19 April, reported 2,73,810 new COVID-19 cases, 1,619 fatalities and 1,44,178 discharges in 24 hours, as per the Union Health Ministry. The total case tally has now reached 1,50,61,919 with 19,29,329 active cases and 1,78,769 deaths.
(With inputs from ANI.)
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