Bengaluru: The Centre allotted more medical oxygen to Karnataka, which has been gasping for more to treat serious Covid patients in intensive care units, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa said on Wednesday.
"Responding to our request for more oxygen supplies, the Central government has rushed 20 tonnes of liquid oxygen, which came from Bahrain," he said in a statement here.
Thanking Prime Minister Narendra Modi for supporting the state in its battle against Covid, Yediyurappa said the Indian Air Force (IAF) had flown 5 containers to Odisha for air-lifting 74 tonnes of oxygen for the state.
"The Centre has also allotted 4 tankers of 20 tonnes capacity each to Karnataka. Two of them reached the Mangaluru port with oxygen," he added.
State-run oil marketing firm Indian Oil Corporation is shipping two containers with 20 tonnes each of liquid oxygen to the state for meeting the surging demand for the life-saving gas.
In a related development, state Industry Minister Jagadish Shettar, who is in-charge of oxygen supplies to hospitals in the state, said he had urged the Centre to permit the state government to use all the gas produced by gas makers in the state.
"I have consulted Central ministers Piyush Goyal and Prahlad Joshi to allot the entire oxygen produced in the state to us for saving lives in the hospitals," he said in a statement here.
The state government has decided to make use of the entire oxygen produced by JSW Industrial Gases Ltd at Ballari.
Though the Jindal Steel Works (JSW) subsidiary produces 130 tonnes of liquid oxygen daily at its Ballari plant, it has been supplying 80 tonnes to the state and sending 50 tonnes to neighbouring Maharashtra, which has been recording more Covid cases.
"As Covid cases in Maharashtra are on decline, Karnataka has requested the Centre to allot the 50 tonnes to the state, where cases have been surging," said Shettar.
Of the 170 oxygen tankers in the state, 68 are used for ferrying the gas to other states, resulting in delays in supplying liquid oxygen to needy hospitals across the state, he noted.
"As railway tankers can ferry large quantity of oxygen at a time at a lesser freight cost, we have requested the Railway Ministry to run more Oxygen Express trains to the state from Odisha," said Shettar.
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