Mamata writes to Modi on acute oxygen shortage in Bengal as COVID pandemic wreaks havoc in the State

Published : May 07, 2021 21:21 IST

Oxygen cylinders being transported to a COVID hospital, in Kolkata on May 1. Photo: Swapan Mahapatra/PTI

With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc in West Bengal, and more and more people suffering because of the non-availability of oxygen, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 7, requesting immediate allocation of at least 550 tonnes of medical oxygen (MO) per day. The Chief Minister alleged that while the Government of India increased allocation of MO to other States, West Bengal’s allocation remained constant and well below the required amount.

Mamata wrote, “I wish to bring to your kind notice a very critical issue regarding supply of Medical Oxygen (MO) in the state of West Bengal… instead of allocating the same (550 MT of MO per day), as per the requirement of West Bengal, Government of India has increased allocation of MO to other States, from the total production in West Bengal, during the last 10 days from 230 MT to 360 MT, keeping the allocation for West Bengal constant at 308 MT per day despite its requirement of 550 MT per day.” Mamata also pointed out that the daily production of MO in West Bengal is around 560 MT.

In her earlier letter to the Prime Minister, dated May 5, she had said that the daily consumption of MO was increasing rapidly due to increase in COVID cases. “It has gone up to 470 MT per day in the last 24 hours and expected to increase to 550 MT in the next 7 to 8 days,” Mamata said in her latest letter to Modi. She also pointed out that the Chief Secretary of the State had taken up the issue with Union Health Secretary and other officials “on numerous occasions earlier for urgent allocation of 550 MT of MO per day for West Bengal”.

The number of new COVID cases has been peaking in the State daily. On May 7, the number increased to 19,216 from 18,431 the previous day, and 112 people lost their lives. The total number of active cases stood at 1,25,422. The highest number of new cases was recorded in North 24 Parganas (3,957), followed by Kolkata (3,915), Hooghly (992), South 24 Parganas (970) and Howrah (934).

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