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Madhya Pradesh says Maharashtra scuttling supply of oxygen concentrators

MP has seen a steep rise in oxygen consumption, with 64 metric ton consumed on March 22, which increased to 179 metric ton on April 7, and to 234 metric ton the following day.

Written by Iram Siddique | Bhopal |
April 18, 2021 4:13:22 am
Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Oxygen availability in India, Maharashtra oxygen, Madhya Pradesh oxygen, india news, indian expressUP has been witnessing an acute medical oxygen shortage with several hospitals complaining of supply crunch in the last few days.

The Madhya Pradesh government has accused Maharashtra of delaying its order of oxygen concentrators it had placed to a Mumbai-based firm.

The matter came to light after MP government received a communication from a Vasai-based oxygen concentrator manufacturer, stating that supply of 1,350 concentrators to MP will not be possible in the stipulated time due to restrictions imposed by Maharashtra government.

Commissioner for FDA, P Narahari, who is looking after MP’s oxygen needs, said, “We are trying to generate alternate sources of oxygen as there might be some issue that might crop up in regular supply of oxygen during transportation or otherwise. As a part of this, oxygen concentrators are being procured.”

He added that it is an additional measure to ramp up its supply. MP has seen a steep rise in oxygen consumption, with 64 metric ton consumed on March 22, which increased to 179 metric ton on April 7, and to 234 metric ton the following day. With 63,889 active cases, the state’s demand was 330 metric ton on Saturday, and is expected to go up to 440 metric ton by April 20.

With no in-house production of oxygen, MP relies largely on procurement of liquid medical oxygen from INOX through its plants in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh – along with it MP has also tied up with Bhilai Steel Plant in Chhattisgarh for supply of oxygen.

MP had first placed an order for 1,350 oxygen concentrators Government e-Marketing (GeM) portal in which the order was placed to ‘Akshar Marketing’, a Vasai-based firm. But according to a senior government official, while 1,350 concentrators were to be delivered in the next seven days, the firm, in an email sent two days ago, stated that it will only be able to supply the machines in the next 60 days.

The firm’s email stated, “…the pandemic situation in Maharashtra is worse compared to the rest of India, in Maharashtra there is a shortage of oxygen supply. The officials of the government of Maharashtra have visited our parent company (Ventox) and booked all material available and the production for next 30 days.”

The email pointed out that the first lot of 450 machines will only be delivered in the next 60 days and the next installment a month later. A senior official from MP health department said, “The Maharashtra government had delayed our order, despite us placing the order before them. We are following up with the firm and if they will not honour our order, we’ll move to blacklist them.”

Besides, MP has also suffered a setback in its order of 600 oxygen concentrators from a Chandigarh-based firm – after supplying 150 oxygen concentrators, this firm had informed the state that the production of remaining units will take at least another month.

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