Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi asking for allocation of 910 MT of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) for the state in view of the rapid daily surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.
"I request your intervention to increase the Liquid Medical Oxygen allocation to 910 MT and also allocate 20 LMO Tankers, so as to ensure that the oxygen supplies are ensured for all hospitals to take care of current patient load requiring oxygen," Jagan wrote to the PM.
The allocation of medical oxygen to Andhra Pradesh as on 24 April was 480 MT. On 24 April the caseload of the state was 81,471 active cases. On 8 May, a revised allocation of 590 MT was made to Andhra Pradesh. "However, on this day our active caseload was 1,87,392. Hence, the revised allocation is not at all commensurate with the increasing active cases. Out of this allocation, 210 MT is allotted from Odisha which is around 1,400 km from Rayalaseema region. Getting LMO from 1,400 km is leading to delays as availability of LMO tankers for transporting oxygen is also a constraint," said the CM.
The four Rayalaseema districts and SPS Nellore are continuously drawing liquid oxygen from Bellary (Karnataka) and Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and hospitals have binding contractual agreements with the suppliers from these locations.
The Andhra Pradesh government is currently drawing 35 IT from St. Gobain, Chennai (Tamil Nadu) and 25 MT from INOX, Sriperumbudur (Tamil Nadu). This has to be maintained, otherwise, the hospitals will face a severe crisis. "On 10 May supplies from Chennai and Karnataka were delayed and has led to unfortunate deaths of 11 persons from lack of oxygen in Tirupati. Further allocation from JSW, Bellary (Karnataka) has to be increased from 20 MT to 150 MT as this plant has enhanced its capacity recently," said the CM.
He also added that allocation from Odisha suppliers also needs to be enhanced substantially from the current 210 MT to at least 400 MT. In addition, 20 LMO Tankers may also be allotted to the state to transport this extra allocation from Odisha using the oxygen express methodology duly tying up with the Indian Railways.
In the letter, Jagan also requested the PM to direct Bharat Biotech, the manufacturer of COVID-19 vaccine, Covaxin, to do technology transfer and direct ICMR-NIV to provide the viral strain to whoever interested and capable of manufacturing the vaccine.
"To curb the surge in cases, while certain temporary measures like curfew, restrictions are taken up, the ultimate solution is in vaccinating every individual as early as possible. One of the measures we have been striving, is to provide vaccines to all eligible and vulnerable populations as per national guidelines at the earliest opportunity. We have in the past been able to demonstrate the capability of administering over six lakh vaccinations per day, however, due to the short supply of vaccines we are not able to vaccinate our population at large," said Jagan.
He added that at present the total manufacturing capacity of this vaccine doesn't cater to the country's requirement. "Please explore the possibility of involving all such production firms and enable them with the technology and IPR etc, to deliver the vaccine as quickly and as cost-effective as possible. This shall ensure that IPRs/patents, if any, are not a hindrance. Anyone who can manufacture or is interested to manufacture the vaccine should be encouraged to do so in the larger public interest. Entire manufacturing capacity should be mobilized and put to use in this testing time," said the CM.