CHENNAI: Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Sunday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to immediately cancel allotment of 80KL of oxygen — produced in Tamil Nadu — to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana states.
With the number of active Covid-19 cases crossing one lakh, Tamil Nadu’s requirement for medical oxygen would increase drastically in the coming days, the chief minister said.
In his letter, chief minister Palaniswami said the state was taking all efforts to reduce the positive cases but considering the current trends, the state would require 450 MT shortly, which would be more than Tamil Nadu’s present production capacity of 400 MT.
“As compared to the maximum active case number of around 58,000 during the previous surge in 2020, the active caseload has already increased to more than a lakh. This has increased the oxygen demand. All efforts are being made to provide uninterrupted and adequate oxygen supply,” he said.
In the latest National Medical Oxygen allotment plan, allocation for Tamil Nadu has been fixed at 220 MT. Based on this wrong allotment, 80 MT of liquid oxygen has been diverted from the manufacturing facilities located at Sriperumpudur in Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. This was based on the wrong position that the existing oxygen consumption in Tamil Nadu was lower than the manufacturing capacity, he wrote.
“On this issue, I wish to bring to your kind notice that as per Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisations (PESO) data, the consumption of oxygen in Tamil Nadu has already reached 310 MT, as against the inadequate allotment made to the State of only 220 MT,” Palaniswami said.
Further, the states to which the allotment has been made have lower number of active cases than Tamil Nadu and also have major steel industries located within their state/close to their states. Hence, the diversion from Sriperumpudur plant seems to have no justification. This needs to be immediately corrected, the chief minister said.
The Sriperumpudur plant supplies oxygen to Chennai which has the second biggest case load in south India.
“While Tamil Nadu has never imposed any restrictions so far and is always ready to support other states, such mandatory diversion of liquid oxygen from the needs of our state can lead to major crisis in Chennai and other districts. Hence, I request that diversion of 80 KL from the Sriperumpudur plant in Tamil Nadu may immediately be cancelled,” Palaniswami said.
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