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Kerala unable to part with oxygen, CM writes to PM

State’s demand to spike by May 15

May 10, 2021 08:02 pm | Updated 08:05 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Kerala government has informed the Centre that it was hard-pressed to export supplemental medical oxygen to other States.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said he had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi that Kerala’s demand for oxygen was likely to spike by May 15, when the number of active COVID-19 cases was expected to touch six lakh. Kerala had pegged its projected requirement of oxygen to tide over the demand at 450 metric tonnes.

Kerala’s current oxygen reserve was barely 86 metric tonnes. It has promised to supply up to 40 metric tonnes to Tamil Nadu before May 10.

Kerala has worked hard to optimise medical oxygen to ease the strain on the national grid. It has sent technical teams to plug leaks in delivery systems and ensure hospitals ration the compound’s supply to critically ill patients.

Inox at Kanjikode in Palakkad was Kerala’s primary source for oxygen. Kerala’s total oxygen generation capacity was an estimated 219 metric tonne.

Away from production centres

Mr. Vijayan said Kerala was remote from major oxygen-producing industrial centres. Hence, there was a delay in procuring oxygen from far-off steel plants.

The Chief Minister requested the Centre to allocate more cryogenic tankers to transport liquid medical oxygen to Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telengana and Tamil Nadu via rail.

Mr. Vijayan said Kerala had shifted doses of vital Remdesivir to needy States directed by the Centre’s Allocation Committee. He told Mr. Modi that the pandemic situation in Kerala was difficult. The State was under lockdown till May 16, he said.

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