Chandigarh: Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Sunday (May 9) urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to increase the state’s oxygen quota and ensure urgent supplies of anti-COVID-19 vaccines.
The Chief Minister raised these issues when PM Modi called him up to discuss the state’s COVID-19 situation and the measures being taken to tackle the crisis, according to an official statement issued.
Chief Minister Singh urged the centre to take immediate steps to supplement oxygen supplies and ensure vaccine doses are sent on priority to help the Punjab government effectively manage the situation triggered by the second wave of the pandemic, the statement said.
The Punjab CM told the Prime Minister that the state was unable to initiate phase-III of the vaccination process for the 18-44 age group people, but it will soon begin in government hospitals from Monday (May 10) following the delivery of one lakh doses.
For the vaccination of the 45 plus age group too, the vaccine was in short supply and while 1.63 lakh doses were expected to come on Sunday (May 9), they were still not enough to meet the state’s requirement, he said.
The CM also informed PM Modi that the state urgently requires 300 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen in view of the growing caseload of critically-ill COVID patients, many of whom were coming from other states, including Delhi-NCR.
The state has a high mortality count, and hospitalisation in level-2 and 3 facilities (both government and private) has seen a sharp surge over the past three weeks, pushing up the oxygen demand, the statement said.
From 197 MT on April 22, the demand had risen to 295.5 MT on May 8, he pointed out, adding that the shortage of tankers had made the situation worse and the centre’s support was needed to enhance the liquid medical oxygen quota and also supply more tankers to Punjab to enable it to cope with the crisis.
(With inputs from news agencies)