Karnataka asks Centre for 1,500 tonnes of oxygen, one lakh vials of Remdesivir

Oxygen cylinders distribution center at Peenya in Bengaluru on Tuesday 20 April 2021.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Karnataka has asked the Centre to supply 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen and one lakh vials of Remdesivir in view of the growing COVID cases in the State.

"We have estimated that in the next one month, we may require 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen. In this regard, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa has written to Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal," State Health Minister Dr. K Sudhakar told reporters here on Thursday.

Also read: Karnataka govt. sets up war room to monitor supply of oxygen, Remdesivir

Mr. Sudhakar said that he has written to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan as well for supply of oxygen.

He said that the State government had a meeting with the major oxygen generators in the State. Of them JSW Steel is the largest one.

Also read: Gas plants on JSW premises scale up oxygen production

"We had a meeting with Sajjan Jindal and he has assured us to supply as much oxygen required in the state," Mr. Sudhakar said.

The Minister said that after the meeting, JSW steel supplied 40 metric tonnes in the last two days required for Bengaluru.

Besides this, the State has demanded additional supply of Remdesivir injections, which is crucial for COVID treatment.

According to the minister, the State has ordered 70,000 vials of Remdesivir injection, of which 20,000 had arrived while the remaining would be supplied in the coming days.

To a question as to why the State did not stock enough oxygen beforehand, the Minister said when the cases had reduced, there was no such demand and hence there was no point in storing it. Now that the cases have gone up the meetings took place to meet the requirement.

The minister's statement came as the demand for oxygen and Remdesivir injection grew in view of the alarming rise of COVID cases, leading to their blackmarketing as well.

The government cracked the whip and arrested a few who were blackmarketing Remdesivir injection. However, the shortage persisted and there has been no crackdown on the blackmarketing of oxygen cylinders in the State.

The grim situation could be assessed from the fact that on Wednesday alone, the state reported 23,558 fresh COVID cases and 116 deaths while the active cases in the State has gone up to 1.76 lakh. The active cases comprised 904 patients in the ICU.

Bengaluru Urban district alone contributed more than 70% of the cases and fatalities, prompting Sudhakar to call Bengaluru the epicentre of COVID in Karnataka.

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Printable version | May 12, 2021 8:50:26 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/karnataka-asks-centre-for-1500-tonnes-of-oxygen-one-lakh-vials-of-remdesivir/article34382644.ece

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