BENGALURU: Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa and Chief Secretary P Ravi Kumar have written to the Central Government to increase the allocation of medical grade oxygen supply to the state after the Centre capped the quota to 300 metric tons of oxygen per day for Karnataka. This is much less than the present requirement, said sources in the know of the matter.
“There are seven liquid oxygen plants in Karnataka which, together, manufacture around 812 metric tons of oxygen per day. Out of this, the Centre has allocated only 300 tons to the state. The rest of the oxygen will be distributed to other states as per Central allocation. This is just not enough for the state, which is grappling with an acute shortage of oxygen.
Karnataka may need 1,100 tons of O2 per day
Karnataka has already used 279 tons on Saturday for its Covid-19 patients. The projected requirement could be 1,100 tons per day, given the current increase in Covid-19 cases in the state,” the sources added. Left to fend for itself with the meagre oxygen allocation, the Karnataka Government is now making all efforts to ramp up manufacture and supply of medical grade oxygen to tide over the growing crisis in hospitals, especially small hospitals, which don’t have a tie-up with oxygen manufacturers. On Monday, Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar and Health Minister D Sudhakar met manufacturers of oxygen and asked them to increase their production capacity and to divert industrial grade oxygen to medical grade oxygen wherever possible.
“The State Government has also decided to streamline transport and distribution of oxygen. There are 94 tankers out of which 45 carry oxygen. We are looking into whether we could rejig some more tankers for oxygen supply,” said the source. Out of the seven oxygen plants in Karnataka, Ballari district alone has four — Air Water India (formerly known as Linde India Ltd), JSW Industrial Gases Pvt Ltd, Praxair India Pvt Ltd and Bellary Oxygen Company. Universal Air Products Pvt Ltd and Bhoruka Gases Ltd are located in Bengaluru and Praxair has another plant in Koppal.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra, which has accused the Centre of not helping it with oxygen supply, has reportedly not picked up its quota of oxygen from Karnataka. Sources told TNIE that Ballari manufactures 330 tons of medical grade oxygen every day out of which the Centre had allocated 100 tons for Maharashtra, said placed sources.
“The latter has not lifted its share of oxygen from Ballari for unknown reasons,” added the sources. A senior officer from Maharashtra said that they could not take their oxygen quota from Ballari due to some “technical” reasons. “We will lift it this weekend,” said the officer. Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope had last week alleged that they had approached the neighbouring states for medical oxygen supply amid a high COVID-19 surge, but the latter expressed their inability due to their domestic demand.