COVID-19: Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope urges Centre to allow oxygen transportation by railways
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Days after the Chief Minister’s request for roping in the National Disaster Management Authority for airlifting of oxygen, the Public Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Saturday urged the Centre to allow transportation of Oxygen by railways from other states in a serious bid to meet the rising demand amid spurt in COVID 19 cases in Maharashtra. Tope’s demand comes at a time when the state government is struggling to meet the daily demand of 1,400 metric tonnes against the production capacity of 1,200 MT by procuring it from various states and industries. The government has projected that the daily demand for oxygen will surge to 2,000 MT by end of April if the COVID 19 cases continue to rise rapidly.

Tope said the Union Home Secretary has written to the Chief Secretaries of the concerned states to ensure that vehicles carrying oxygen from other states to Maharashtra are not obstructed in view of the oxygen shortage in Maharashtra. However, he said the transportation of oxygen by road is time consuming and therefore urged that Ministry of Railways be directed for its transportation.

The minister referred to the Centre’s decision for the installation of pressure swing absorption (PSA) plants in new 100 hospitals in far flung locations under the PM-CARES fund. He demanded that Maharashtra should get maximum number of such plants considering the burgeoning mismatch between demand and supply of oxygen.

On the shortage of Remdesivir injections, Tope demanded that the pharmaceutical companies from Maharashtra be allowed to manufacture Remdesivir. ‘’The Union Health Minister has informed that the decision will be taken in consultation with the law and justice department to provide technical assistance and permission to local pharmaceutical companies in the state for its production in view of the Remdesivir shortage,’’ he noted.

Tope said he has demanded that Maharashtra should get maximum of the remaining stock of 15 companies due to the Centre’s decision to ban export ban on Remedesivir vials.

The minister said the state government proposes to administer 8 lakh COVID 19 vaccine doses from the present level of 3.50 lakh doses per day. He appealed to the union health minister to increase the supply of vaccine doses to the state.

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