Farmers Protest: Oxygen

   Posted by: aman   in Other, Punjab

Day 147

Toll 392



A huge tragedy is unfolding – India faces an acute oxygen crises. A number of states have reported shortages of medical oxygen for a growing pool of patients.

But how did we get here?

In April 2020, the government decided to ease the licensing of medical oxygen manufacturers. Having decided, given the pandemic was raging, the government took six months to invite bids for more than 150 pressure swing absorption oxygen generation plants costing a mere Rs 200-crore.

Later, Centre added 12 more plants to the original 150, making for a total of 162. On 15 April 2021, the Centre added another 100, running the total up to 262. Yet, on 18 April 2021, the government tweeted about the 162 plants which were contracted out in 2020:

“Out of 162 PSA oxygen plants, 33 have been installed. By end of April 2021, 59 will be installed. By end of May 2021, 80 will be installed.”

As of now, out of total 262 plants, only 11 units have been installed and just five are operational. Now, in the midst of crises that could have been solved long back pro-actively, India is releasing industrial oxygen for medical use. It is importing 50K MT oxygen from abroad. Yet, just a few weeks back, it was exporting 10K MT oxygen for some paltry crores. Last night Delhi health minister screamed that oxygen for less then 12 hours was available. He asked quota to be increased.

A Central minister has the temerity to state: ‘State governments should keep demand (for medical oxygen) under control. Demand-side management is as important as supply-side management. Containing COVID spread is the responsibility of state governments and they should fulfil this responsibility.’

Basically the minister is telling the dying to not breathe more. The shamelessness of it all! On top of it, lapdog media has started blaming the farmers protest for lack of oxygen supplies to Delhi. There are news reports stating that oxygen trucks are delayed because of blockade of roads around Delhi by farmers.

The heartlessness of the accusation. It has been a principle that farmers always allow medical emergencies even during rasta roko or rail roko. The service lane at Singhu is open, so is the left lane at Tikri and two lanes on the highway at Ghazipur. This accusation of stopping the Cancer Train was made even during the White Fly protests in Panjab 2015.

The fact is we are not producing enough oxygen, we are unable to transport oxygen because we do not have the trucks, and most importantly we paid lip-service to developing capacity but did nothing on the ground for a whole precious year. Now we blame the farmers. The Centre blames the states. We eternally blame and not own responsibility.

What can be more sickening?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 21st, 2021 at 3:41 pm and is filed under Other, Punjab. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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