Bhubaneswar: Odisha has dispatched at least 29 tankers carrying about 510 MT of medical oxygen under police escort to Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and other needy states in the last 48 hours, an official said.

This apart, 15 more tankers are leaving from Dhenkanal, Rourkela and Angul by Saturday, an official statement released by Odisha Police said, adding that the state police has formed a dedicated corridor for speedy movement to serve thousands of needy patients in various states without delay.

The Special Cell formed under ADGP (Law and Order), Y K Jethwais is coordinating various actions for prompt loading and transportation of medical oxygen by Odisha to states facing a deficit. District SPs/DCPs and Range DIG/IG/CP are supervising the movement personally within their jurisdictions, it said.

Meanwhile, Odisha’s Health and Family Welfare department has set up modalities to meet the demands of oxygen cylinders in the dedicated COVID hospitals, Covid Care Centres and others where the corona patients are admitted in the state.

In an official letter to all district authorities, Additional Chief Secretary Health and Family Welfare P K Mohapatra said that drug inspectors of districts will ensure timely despatch of the empty cylinders to the assigned fillers and inform his counterparts at which the filler is stationed for timely filing of the cylinders.

Also read: Govt invokes DM Act to order uninterrupted production, supply of oxygen

He said the hiring charges of vehicles can be met from the Public Health Response Funds or any other suitable head from which transportation districts will be done smoothly.

Official sources said that as against the daily requirement of 23.78 tonnes of medical oxygen for patients in Odisha, the daily production of cylinder oxygen in the state is 129.68 tonne. Besides, the daily production of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) is 60 tonne.

While an LMO plant will be commissioned in the MKCG Medical College and Hospital in Berhampur by May 10, plans are afoot to set up LMO plants in 15 COVID hospitals including the Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) at Burla.

Mohapatra said the state is supplying oxygen to other needy states after fulfilling its own requirement. There is no question of giving oxygen to others by ignoring the state’s requirement, he said, while rejecting the allegation that some patients in Odisha are denied oxygen.

Meanwhile, BJP State General Secretary Prithiviraj Harichandan alleged that oxygen stock has been exhausted at the MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur and patients died due to the oxygen shortage on Friday night.

However, the Ganjam district administration has rejected the allegation. Ganjam District Collector VA Kulange wearing a PPE kit visited the MKCG hospital and interacted with COVID patients admitted to the hospital.

He said the allegation of oxygen shortage at the hospital is not true. “There are some rumours about oxygen supply in COVID hospital in MKCG. We have sufficient oxygen supply and the supply chain is monitored in real-time,” Kulange said in a Twitter post.

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