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Top five states in active cases get lower share of oxygen: Govt data

The data, which is based on an allocation order dated May 8, also shows that the combined allocation by the Centre to the states and UTs has crossed the 10,000 metric tonnes per day (MT/day) mark.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi |
Updated: May 12, 2021 3:47:31 am
Shettar said that the state was facing a shortage of 67 MT of medical oxygen daily. (Representational Image)

The top five states on the Covid chart, which account for 54 per cent of the total active cases in the country, get only 42 per cent of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) allocated by the Centre to 33 states and Union Territories, according to the latest government data.

The data, which is based on an allocation order dated May 8, also shows that the combined allocation by the Centre to the states and UTs has crossed the 10,000 metric tonnes per day (MT/day) mark. The number of states and UTs seeking oxygen from the Centre has also gone up, virtually covering the entire country, it shows.

The data, maintained by the Empowered Group-2 tasked with ensuring oxygen supply, shows that the combined allocation for 33 states and UTs stood at 10,140 MT/day on May 8. On April 24, this figure was 8,280 MT/day and the number of states on the list was only 22.

In effect, the allocation has seen a 22 per cent increase in just two weeks. The data shows that the top five states with a combined 20.12 lakh of the 37.15 lakh active cases across the country as on May 11 —Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan—have been allocated only 4,306 MT/day of the total allocation of 10,140 MT/day.

According to the May 8 order, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh are among the top five states in terms of allocation, including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Uttar Pradesh, with a total of 5,326 MT/day. This grouping accounts for 44 per cent—16.36 lakh—of the nationwide active case count on May 11.

While the oxygen allocation is made on the basis of a formula, the early detection of cases in a state is also a key factor while determining the overall demand. The Centre’s allocation is based on norms determined by the Union Health Ministry, and fluctuates according to demand from states.

The data shows that the 11 new states and UTs on the list since April 24 are Odisha, Jharkhand, Puducherry, Ladakh and the seven Northeastern states—Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura.

Among the top five states, Karnataka’s allocation has jumped 27 per cent—from 802 MT/day on April 24 to 1,015 MT per day on May 8. However, the four other states have not seen any significant change in allocation.

Delhi, which has been seeking 700 MT/day, has been allocated 590 MT/day. Both Delhi and Karnataka, have approached the court with appeals to increase their oxygen allocation.

In percentage terms, Kerala (125 per cent), Tamil Nadu (90 per cent), Punjab (66 per cent), Haryana (65 per cent), West Bengal (56 per cent), Rajasthan (49 per cent) and Uttarakhand (49 per cent) have registered a sharp rise in allocation when compared to two weeks ago.

Among the new states, the seven Northeastern states have been given a combined allocation of 67 MT/day while Jharkhand and Odisha have been allocated 120 MT/day and 200 MT/day, respectively.

The demand for medical oxygen has seen a sharp jump in recent days amid the second wave.

According to government data of May 8, nearly 50,000 Covid patients in the country were in intensive care units, while more than 14,500 are on ventilator support. More than 1.37 lakh patients were on oxygen support, shows the data. This is much higher than the figure reported during the first wave in September, when about 23,000 patients were in ICUs, less than 4,000 of them on ventilators, and around 40,000 required oxygen support.

The sale of the LMO has increased multifold since March. “During the first wave of COVID-19, the maximum sale of 3,095 MT/day of LMO was seen on September 29, 2020. The sale of LMO grew more than five-fold from 1,559 MT/day on March 31, 2021, to over 8,000 MT mark by May 3, 2021,” the government said Monday.

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