Karnataka has asked the Centre to supply 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen and one lakh vials of Remdesivir in view of the growing COVID cases in the state. “We have estimated that in the next one month, we may require 1,500 metric tonnes of oxygen. In this regard, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa has written to Union Minister for Railways, Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal,” state Health Minister Dr K Sudhakar told reporters here on Thursday.
He said he too has written to the Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare Dr Harsh Vardhan for supply of oxygen. Sudhakar said the state government had a meeting with the major oxygen generators in the state.
Of them JSW Steel is the largest one. “We had a meeting with Sajjan Jindal and he has assured us to supply as much oxygen required in the state,” Sudhakar said.
The Minister said after the meeting JSW steel supplied 40 metric tonnes in the last two days required for Bengaluru. Besides this, the State has demanded additional supply of Remdesivir injections, which is crucial for Covid treatment.
According to him, the state has ordered 70,000 vials of Remdesivir injection, of which 20,000 had arrived while the remaining would be supplied in the coming days. “We have already ordered 70,000 vials of Remdesivir.
This besides we have put forth the demand for one lakh Remdesivir vials for which we have written to the Centre,” he added. To a question as to why the state did not stock enough oxygen beforehand, the Minister said when the cases had reduced, there was no such demand and hence there was no point in storing it.
Now that the cases have gone up the meetings took place to meet the requirement. The minister’s statement came as the demand for oxygen and Remdesivir injection grew in view of the alarming rise of COVID cases, leading to their black-marketing as well.
The government cracked the whip and arrested a few who were black-marketing Remdesivir injection. However, the shortage persisted.
There, however, is no crackdown on the black-marketing of oxygen cylinders in the state. The grim situation could be assessed from the fact that on Wednesday alone, the state reported 23,558 fresh Covid cases and 116 deaths while the active cases in the state has gone up to 1.76 lakh.
The active cases comprised 904 patients in the ICU. Bengaluru Urban district alone contributed more than 70 per cent of the cases and fatalities, prompting Sudhakar to call Bengaluru the epicentre of COVID in Karnataka.