Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in which he addressed the issues related to oxygen shortage in the state. In his letter to PM Modi, he wrote Kerala cannot spare any further oxygen as the state have already supplied their buffer stock to neighbouring states and are now left with just 86 metric tonne of buffer.
In the letter, Vijayan informed that the state will allow 40 metric tonnes of oxygen to their neighboring state Tamil Nadu till May 10 after the May 6 decision of the Central Committee of Oxygen Allocation. Considering the present situation of the state, Vijayan wrote that it will be practically impossible to allow oxygen to be taken out of the state.
Kerala, is among the worst hit state by the Covid second wave, has been put under strict lockdown which will continue till May 16. Only essential movement has been allowed. The test positivity rate in the state is at 28.88 per cent and only 17.38 per cent of people have been vaccinated.
He wrote that Kerala has currently 4,02,640 active cases and the number is projected to rise to 6,00,000 by May 15. In view of the rapidly growing numbers, the state will need 450 metric tonnes of oxygen by May 15.
Kerala’s main oxygen producing unit Inox has the capacity to produce 150 metric tonne oxygen and with other smaller units, the state is producing 219 metric tonne of oxygen each day.
Explaining the difficulties to transfer oxygen to other states, he wrote that the state is geographically far from the main steel plants which making transfer of oxygen difficult. in his letter, Vijayana requested that the entire oxygen produced in the state, is 219 MT, may be allocated to the state of Kerala.
Managing the oxygen crisis of the country, the state had initially ensured 450 metric tonne of buffer stock without putting pressure on national grid. Later, the buffer stock was allowed to be transported because of the demands from neighbouring states.
Vijayan has also requested the Centre for allocation of more cryogenic tankers, which can be pooled by running Oxygen Express trains for Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Kerala for transferring additional quantities of liquid medical oxygen.