BENGALURU: The Supreme Court decision not to interfere with the Karnataka High Court order on increasing the allocation of oxygen to treat Covid-19 patients has come as a big relief for Karnataka that is battling a surge in cases. The top court on Friday directed the Centre to increase oxygen allocation to the state to 1,200 metric tons from 965 metric tons.
"The increase in allocation to 1,200 MT will provide some immediate relief to the state," Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar told The New Indian Express on Friday. Shettar is the minister in charge of augmenting oxygen supplies in the state to meet the suddenincrease in demand. The minister said the State Government has already sent a request to the Centre asking for an increase in the allocation and a formal order is expected soon. The state has also requested the Centre to reserve oxygen produced locally for its own use. Shettar has held several rounds of talks with industries to ramp up oxygen production and resolve issues related to transportation.
The government is also looking at restarting defunct oxygen plants in the state. Deputy Chief Minister Dr C N Ashwath Narayan said the requirement of oxygen increased after the surge in the cases and now, with the hike in allocation, the state can raise the number of oxygenated beds and ensure sufficient supply to patients. Shortage of oxygen has been reported from several parts of the state, including Bengaluru and Covid-19 patients are struggling to get oxygenated beds and ventilators. At the Chamarajanagar district hospital, 24 Covid-19 patients died, allegedly due to oxygen shortage.