As part of its efforts to address the medical oxygen crisis in the State, the government has planned to import 500 oxygen concentrators from Shanghai, China, Minister for Mines and Geology and Kalaburagi in-charge Murugesh Nirani told presspersons here on Tuesday before leaving for Bengaluru to take part in a Cabinet meeting.
“I have told my contacts in Shanghai to procure 500 oxygen concentrators and send them to Bengaluru by a special flight. They are expected to arrive within four days. If they arrive as expected, I am going to send 100 to Kalaburagi, which is among the districts facing a serious oxygen crunch,” he said.
The price of the concentrators of 5 kg and 10 kg capacity, he added, range from ₹35,000 to ₹1.38 lakh. The government would purchase them at competitive prices.
“I have talked to oxygen producers operating from JSW Steel in Ballari to explore the possibility of augmenting liquid medical oxygen supply to Kalaburagi. They have responded positively and expressed their readiness to supply as much oxygen as we want. We are putting in efforts to deploy a dedicated cryogenic oxygen tanker in service for supplying the lifesaving gas to Kalaburagi. I am expecting the tanker to start transporting oxygen to Kalaburagi in a day or two,” he said.
To a question, the Minister said there was no dearth of funds for handling the pandemic. “We can even use DMF [District Mineral Foundation] funds for purchasing medical oxygen, cylinders, drugs, and other essentials required for treating COVID-19 patients,” he said.
When asked about the Opposition’s demand for the Chief Minister’s resignation in the backdrop of the Chamarajanagar tragedy, he said resignation would not solve the problem. “We should not do politics at the time of a health crisis. The Opposition leaders should, by giving appropriate suggestions, join hands with the government in tackling the pandemic,” he said.