More oxygen plants in a few weeks in North Karnataka, says Karjol

North Karnataka districts will get more oxygen plants in a few weeks, Deputy Chief Minister and Belagavi district in-charge Govind Karjol said in Belagavi on Thursday.

The State government has been informed that ONGC and MRPL will come up with oxygen plants in Belagavi, Haveri, Gadag, Uttara Kannada and Ballari districts. “We have requested the Union government to direct ONGC to set up a similar plant in Bagalkot also,” he said at a meeting of officers and legislators at the government guesthouse. He asked Deputy Commissioner K. Harish Kumar to send a detailed report after identifying a suitable place for the plant in Belagavi district.

Dr. Kumar said that preparations had begun on the premises of the Belagavi Institute of Medical Sciences to set up another captive oxygen plant. “The 500 litre capacity plant will start operations in three weeks,’’ the Deputy Commissioner said.

Mr. Karjol said that the State government will request sugar factories to produce oxygen in their mills, as in Maharashtra. “Some factories that have ethanol units are producing up to 20 tonnes of oxygen per day, I am told. We could adopt the model here. Anyway, the factories have a lean season now,” he said. He asked officers to take over empty gas cylinders from sugar factories for filling and refilling them with oxygen. “I am sure all the factories will cooperate with the government in such a crisis,’’ he said.

The Deputy Chief Minister asked officers to look into complaints that in some hospitals, doctors were using more than the necessary amount of oxygen for VIPs or other special categories of patients or by wrong and unscientific usage. He asked officers to press into service additional drivers and tankers to ensure smooth movement of oxygen.

Officers tell me that Belagavi district has 102 ambulances. They should be put to optimal use. A log book should be maintained about the movement of each ambulance, he said. He asked officers to monitor administration in hospitals, oxygen usage, drug supply and other activities through the COVID war room. The war room should also work like a helpline centre, he said. The war room should have a functional website, he said.

Karnataka Milk Federation chairman Balachandra Jarkiholi has said the milk cooperative will provide 200 beds with oxygen supply. “We should make use of it,” he said.

He asked the Deputy Commissioner to ensure that officers of all departments work with dedication and integrity. He asked him not to tolerate negligence and dereliction of duty among officers. Health and other department officers concerned should work for 24 hours. They should not complain or give excuses, he said.

He expressed concern about the spike in number of cases in Belagavi, Gokak, Saundatti and some rural areas. If the district wants testing centres in such areas, the State government will sanction them, he said.

Food Minister Umesh Katti suggested formation of a district-level committee to maintain a database of beds and distribute them.

MLA Mahantesh Dodagoudar urged the Deputy Chief Minister to sanction a hospital with 100 oxygen beds in each taluk, to help the poor and to reduce the burden on the District Hospital. Mr. Karjol said that the government would consider the suggestion.

MLA Abhay Patil observed that of the 850 beds with oxygen supply in BIMS, only 300 were used for treating COVID-19 cases. “If all oxygen beds are used, we can address the bed scarcity problem easily,” he said.

Mr. Patil complained against a pharmacist in the BIMS saying that he was not responsive to the problems of the people. Mr. Karjol asked the Deputy Commissioner to relieve the officer if the charge were found to be correct.

MLA Anil Benake complained that some ambulances were charging thousands of rupees to ferry the sick to hospitals.

MP Mangala Angadi suggested fumigation of congested places to disinfect them.

Dr. Kumar said that the rate of infection had risen to 20%. He felt that curfew rules could be tightened further to reduce the spread of infection. He said that RT-PCR test results will be made available in 36 hours from Monday. He pointed out that there were more COVID-19 patients in private hospitals than in government hospitals. He urged the Deputy Chief Minister to increase the allocation of vaccines to Belagavi district, as it was the second largest district with a population of over 50 lakh.

BIMS Director Vinay Dastikopp urged the government to sanction more staff to the government medical college hospital as there was an increase in the number of cases.

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Printable version | Aug 4, 2021 4:12:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/more-oxygen-plants-in-a-few-weeks-in-north-karnataka-says-karjol/article34499839.ece

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