Coronavirus | Rajasthan apprises Centre of shortage of medical oxygen, essential medicines

Ashok Gehlot briefs Narendra Modi on need for proportionate allocation of resources

Amid the spiralling number of COVID-19 positive cases, a Group of Ministers (GoM) from Rajasthan visited New Delhi on Tuesday to apprise the Centre of the shortage of medical oxygen and essential medicines, which was posing a difficulty in the treatment of serious patients. The State recorded the highest single-day rise in the death toll with 121 persons succumbing to the infection.

The GoM met Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla and Union Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya. It sought an immediate allocation of remdesivir and tocilizumab in sufficient quantity as well as tankers for supply of oxygen from Gujarat, Odisha and Jharkhand.

The State has only 23 tankers for transport of liquid oxygen. The GoM comprised Ministers Raghu Sharma (Health), Shanti Dhariwal (Urban Development) and B.D. Kalla (Energy). Additional Chief Secretary Sudhansh Pant accompanied them.

Former Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot told The Hindu that the visit was necessitated because of the Centre’s failure to evolve a blueprint with transparent parameters for allocation and distribution of essentials. “The allocation of oxygen and medicines should be done clearly on the basis of the positivity rate, number of deaths and the infrastructure available in each State,” he said.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Tuesday spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over telephone and requested him to acquire all tankers across the country, on the lines of acquisition of oxygen plants, and allot them to the States for transport of life-saving medical oxygen. This would help redress the grievances of all States, he said.

Mr. Gehlot raised the issue of allocation of oxygen and medicines in accordance with the number of patients and the active COVID-19 cases — which increased to 1,55,182 on Tuesday — with the Prime Minister. “Rajasthan has a higher number of active cases. People have started facing difficulty,” he said.

Mr. Gehlot also spoke to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and apprised her of the situation. According to the party sources here, the Chief Minister held a detailed discussion about the shortage of medical oxygen, tankers and medicines with Ms. Gandhi.

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