May 9, 2021 9:14:39 pm
Former union minister Ashwani Kumar has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his intervention to meet the immediate requirements of Punjab in its war against Covid-19.
Kumar said the spurt in Covid cases in the border state of Punjab is a cause of great concern in view of its special vulnerabilities.
‘‘Its densely populated towns, where people mostly live in congested mohallas, are prone to the spread of infection… Despair and helplessness resulting from the fear of a virus can cause added law and order problems,’’ he said.
The former Union Minister for Law and Justice called for an aggressive vaccination drive and adequate supply of oxygen for seriously ill patients. ‘‘Punjab is the sword arm of the nation and the first to bear the brunt of terrorism and wars from across the border…While all states must receive their due, the national formula for allocation of oxygen and vaccines needs to factor in the special circumstances of the states. The Punjab and Haryana High Court has also observed in an ongoing litigation that the situation in the state is critical.’’
The Parliamentarian said the state needs 2.6 crore doses to vaccinate people in the age group of 18 and 44 years. ‘‘Out of this, 30 lakh doses are required by May 21 but the supplies may not match this demand unless ensured by the Central Government. Similarly, for vaccination of 45 and above, at least 1.6 crore doses are required for double jabs, against which only 40.50 lakh doses have been received by the state government through the Government of India,’’ he wrote.
As regards to the availability of oxygen, he wrote, the present demand is 280 MT per day against the availability of about 150 MT.
“The state needs oxygen concentrators for immediate relief to affected persons in far-flung areas and border districts of Gurdaspur, Amritsar and Tarn Taran. If the present surge continues and with the possibility of a third wave, the state would need 50,000 O2 concentrators,” wrote Kumar.
He mentioned that non-availability of tankers for O2 transportation is a major worry of Punjab that the Centre could alleviate.
He concluded his letter by urging the PM to intervene personally to the requests made by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.
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