Tamil Nadu

Acute shortage of oxygen is putting lives at risk, T.N. tells HC

A view of the Madras High Court.  

The Tamil Nadu government on Monday told the Madras High Court that though the Centre had revised the quantity of oxygen allotted to the State from 220 tonnes to 419 tonnes a day, it is still short of the current actual consumption of around 470 tonnes a day. “The acute shortage of medical oxygen on a day-to-day basis is putting the lives of affected COVID-19 patients at grave risk,” the government said.

Appearing before the first Division Bench of Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, Advocate General R. Shunmugasundaram said the State’s oxygen requirement was expected to increase further to around 850 tonnes a day in the next 15 days if the number of COVID-19 patients under hospitalisation on oxygen-supported beds continues to increase in the days to come.

However, if the lockdown restrictions succeed in bringing down the number of cases, there may not be any necessity for another 400 tonnes of oxygen.

The A-G also submitted a status report filed by Health Secretary J. Radhakrishnan, who stressed the need to make three essential amendments to the National Oxygen Plan “to avert a major catastrophe and loss of many lives in Tamil Nadu”.

The Health Secretary noted that a revised oxygen allotment order, issued by the Centre on May 8, said 40 tonnes of oxygen from INOX Air Products Private Limited, Kanjikode, Kerala, would be supplied to the western and southern districts of Tamil Nadu only till May 12.

This was done with the anticipation that the Sterlite copper smelting plant in Thoothukudi would commence oxygen production this week.

“However, the production in the Sterlite plant is expected to commence in a small way from May 12, and it will take at least 10 days to reach around 40 tonnes on a sustainable basis. Therefore, if the 40 tonnes from INOX, Kanjikode, is stopped, the supply of oxygen to Coimbatore and the southern districts of Tamil Nadu will be totally cut off. This will be catastrophic for 10 districts in the western and southern parts of Tamil Nadu,” he said.

He insisted that the supply from INOX, Kanjikode, should be continued for at least 10 more days. Secondly, Mr. Radhakrishnan also wanted the supply of another 20 tonnes of oxygen from Air Water India Private Limited in Bellary, Karnataka, to continue for another 10 days as a transition measure. Further, he insisted upon allotting 200 tonnes of oxygen to Tamil Nadu from the steel plants in Rourkela, Odisha, to meet its deficit and the increasing demand.

He pointed out that these three requirements did not find a mention in the revised oxygen allotment order for Tamil Nadu.

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Printable version | Jun 18, 2021 4:35:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/acute-shortage-of-oxygen-is-putting-lives-at-risk-tn-tells-hc/article34530595.ece

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