The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday (April 25) urging him to stop the diversion of liquid oxygen from their manufacturing facilities to other states since this could lead to a “major crisis” in Chennai and other districts.
In his letter, the Tamil Nadu (TN) CM said that despite strong efforts by the state to reduce positive COVID-19 cases, the current trend has scaled up the state’s oxygen requirement to 450 MTs, which is much higher than their production capacity of 400 MTs.
Pointing out the severity of the spike in cases in the second wave in TN, he said that in 2020 at the peak, the number of active cases had been 58,000 but now the number had increased to one lakh. This is the reason the demand for liquid oxygen in TN had shot up and the government would want to ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen in the state.
EPS also raised the issue of the National Medical Oxygen plan allocation for TN, which had been fixed at 220 MTs, and due to this “wrong allotment”, 80 ML of liquid oxygen from manufacturing facilities in Sriperumpudur were being dispatched to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. According to him, this allotment was based on a wrong assumption that TN was producing more than what they consumed.
In addition, quoting data from the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisations, EPS said the fact that TN’s consumption of oxygen had already reached 310 MTs, the “inadequate” allotment of 220 MTs to the state needed to be addressed.
Further, he added that the states to which the oxygen allotments have been made were not recording high active cases of COVID-19 and also housed many steel plants within the state. While liquid oxygen sorely needed in Chennai which was the second worst affected city in south India was being diverted elsewhere and this needed to be corrected, he stressed.
According to EPS, TN until now has not “imposed any restrictions” and is always ready to support other states. But this diversion of liquid oxygen to other states could end up causing a crisis in Chennai and other districts. EPS concluded the letter asking PM Modi to immediately cancel the diversion of 80KL from Sriperumpudur.
This letter comes in the backdrop of the TN government’s recent assurances to people and various stakeholders that they have enough oxygen in the state.