Indian Punjab’s Chief Minister Amarinder Singh disclosed that the Modi-led government at the Centre rejected the province’s request to import liquid medical oxygen (LMO) from neighbouring Pakistan as the country faces a dire shortage amid record coronavirus cases and deaths, it emerged on Monday.
Singh had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah last week, asking them to “immediately allocate” an additional 50 metric tonnes of oxygen as well as 20 tankers to transport oxygen from Bokaro to the province.
In a press release issued last week, the Punjab government said that despite the increasing caseload, the Punjab chief minister could not increase the number of level two and level three beds because of constraints hampering oxygen availability.
The province was not getting its allocated quota of oxygen, the release said.
“Singh pointed out that the Government of India had expressed its inability to even allow Punjab’s local industry to undertake commercial import of LMO from Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari border, which is geographically proximate,” it said.
“Despite assurance that adequate supply would be ensured to us from alternate sources, I regret to point out that this has not happened,” the release quoted Singh as saying.
Last week, chief of the Congress party in Punjab, Sunil Jakhar, had told media that the “Centre was coming in the way” of importing oxygen from Pakistan.—Agencies