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Punjab seeks green corridor from Gujarat, Rajasthan to ferry oxygen from Hazira

“We are expecting that the vehicles (cryogenic oxygen tankers) would reach Bathinda by tomorrow (Friday) to address the issue of critical requirement there,” said Punjab Covid Control Room chief for Oxygen Rahul Tewari.

Written by Navjeevan Gopal | Chandigarh |
May 14, 2021 5:33:08 am
Medical liquid oxygen being filled into a tank at Guru Nanak Dev Hospital in Amritsar, Thursday. (Express Photo by Rana Simranjit Singh)

After being allocated additional quota of 20MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) from Hazira in Gujarat, Punjab Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan on Thursday wrote to her counterparts in Gujarat and Rajasthan to provide ‘green corridor’ for the movement of vehicles carrying the life saving gas.

“As you are aware that due to the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in the State of Punjab and resultant deficiency of medical oxygen in the health facilities of the State, the State of Punjab was allocated 20 MT LMO from Inox Hazira as per the supply plan of the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India,” read the correspondence from Vini to Rajasthan Chief Secretary Niranjan Kumar Arya.

The correspondence added, “In order to offtake this allocation, there will be consistent road movement of Punjab’s tankers to and from Hazira, Gujarat – Bathinda, Punjab. The journey by road will entail traversing through the districts of Rajasthan en-route Hazira-Bathinda. Therefore, I would request you to provide a green corridor for the movement of these vehicles by providing escort within your state boundary so that there can be safe passage from to and fro from Hazira-Bathinda.

Vini, on Thursday, was learnt to have shot off a similar correspondence to Gujarat Chief Secretary Anil Mukim.

“We are expecting that the vehicles (cryogenic oxygen tankers) would reach Bathinda by tomorrow (Friday) to address the issue of critical requirement there,” said Punjab Covid Control Room chief for Oxygen Rahul Tewari.

Tewari said two more tankers were airlifted for Hazira on Thursday and would start a road journey back to Punjab with Oxygen on Friday.

As Punjab gasps for Oxygen, the State has been provided as many as 200 oxygen concentrators by Tata Memorial. Vini Mahajan told The Indian Express that 102 such concentrators were received by the State from Tata Memorial on Thursday and 98 on Friday.

A government functionary privy with the developments said the oxygen concentrators by Tata Memorial were “costlier ones with a capacity of ten litres each and costing around “atleast about Rs 1 lakh each”.

On May 10, the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had approved two tankers having a capacity of 20 metric tonnes each for Punjab in the mapping of 12 ISO containers/tankers (LNG) by the Indian Oil Corporation Limited to states.

These two containers were scheduled to arrive in Punjab on May 13, but were re-routed to Hazira on Tuesday to lift additional oxygen supply allocated to the state. Demand for oxygen in Punjab had doubled from 152 MT to 304 MT in a fortnight till Monday.

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