India’s Modi refused to seek oxygen from Pakistan, and Punjab took a breath. Coronavirus pandemic news

India’s Modi refused to seek oxygen from Pakistan, and Punjab took a breath. Coronavirus pandemic news



Amritsar, India – In the event of an incredible shortage of medical oxygen, the Punjab government contacted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to facilitate the establishment of an “oxygen corridor” with India’s main neighbor Pakistan, Pakistan and the Northwest The Ministry of Governors has a border of 550 kilometers (342 miles).

The Chief Minister of Punjab State Amarinder Singh and other politicians in the state have asked Modi to purchase oxygen from Pakistan at least eight times. The city of Lahore in Pakistan is only 50 kilometers (31 miles) away from Amritsar.

The country’s prime minister, Imran Khan, provided assistance to India on April 25, which is a need to buy oxygen from Pakistan. The well-known Edhi charity in Pakistan has also voluntarily provided medical assistance in the event of an increase in COVID-19 cases in the country.

However, with the deadly second coronavirus wave causing thousands of deaths every day, Modi’s Hindu nationalist Baradia Janata Party (BJP) government refused to seek any help from its “enemy country” .

A technician unloads an empty oxygen cylinder in a hospital in Ludhiana [Gurkirat Singh/Al Jazeera]

Gurjit Singh Aujla, a member of Parliament in Amritsar, told Al Jazeera: “It turns out that this kind of denial is fatal to patients in Punjab. They don’t know the last breath.”

Aujla first wrote to Modi on April 26, because it is geographically close, so it sought to establish a special oxygen channel with Pakistan. When he did not receive a reply from the prime minister, he wrote again on April 27, and then wrote more letters on May 2 and May 5.

At the same time, Singh also issued a statement on May 4 stating that the center rejected his proposal to allow local industrial groups in Punjab to import oxygen from Pakistan through the Ouaga-Atari border near Amritsar.

More than ten days have passed since the center refused, but the interruption of the oxygen supply chain in Punjab has not recovered.

Last week, at least three hospitals in Amritsar issued emergency calls, saying that their oxygen buffers had been exhausted. The local government arranged life-saving gas from nearby areas.

A government official who requested anonymity stated that he had forgotten the number of SOS messages released by the hospital in the past few days. He told Al Jazeera: “Every few hours every day, a hospital receives calls for help.”

Patients wearing masks wait in the lobby of a hospital in Batinda [Lalita Verma/Al Jazeera]

From 3,003 coronavirus patients in Punjab on April 13 to 6,947 patients on May 17, the state’s one-month infection rate has more than tripled.

As of Monday, there are 73,616 patients in Punjab, which may exceed 100,000 by next week.

State government data shows that in these active cases, at least 25% to 30% of patients require regular oxygen support. The Ministry of Health of India estimates that severe COVID-19 patients need 10-60 liters of oxygen per minute.

The managing director of the hospital, Sunil Devgan, told Al Jazeera that on April 24, after the facility ran out of oxygen, 6 patients died at the Neelkanth Hospital in Amritsar??? .

“On April 23, the oxygen shortage in our hospital was shocking. Due to the pandemic, our consumption increased from 20 cylinders a day to 100 cylinders. On the evening of April 23, we would lose patients almost every half an hour. “He says.

Of the six people who died in the hospital that night due to lack of oxygen, five were being treated for COVID-19.

“Despite countless SOS calls, no one came to help us. Even now, after so many days, we still have difficulty getting oxygen on time. According to the instructions of the Punjab government, we do not accept severe COVID-19 patients now,” Devgan Say.

On April 30, Punjab’s daily oxygen consumption was 203.8 metric tons (MT). On May 7, it reached 250.6 tons, an increase of nearly 50 tons in a week. On May 17, it jumped to 304 tons.

However, the central government issued a two-week emergency request on May 11 to provide at least 300 metric tons of oxygen per day. The central government increased the oxygen limit in Punjab to 247 metric tons.

Of the 247 tons of oxygen allocated, nearly 70 tons of oxygen came from the Bocaro plant, which is located in the eastern state of Jharkhand, a distance of more than 1,750 kilometers (1,088 miles). The Punjab hospital said that the oxygen from Bokaro could hardly arrive on time.

As of May 7, due to logistical problems, other factories in the country also had an oxygen shortage of 211 metric tons. Officials said that Punjab’s daily oxygen demand far exceeded the state’s daily oxygen demand.

In the logistical challenge of obtaining oxygen from Jharkhand, Singh once again urged Modi on May 10 to increase the total oxygen quota for plants in the states of Punjab.

In the case of oxygen shortage in Punjab, the doctor is checking the oxygen concentrator. Credit – Gurkirat Singh

“Why can we get oxygen from Lahore, which is only 50 kilometers away, and why wait for Bokaro, 1758 kilometers away, to provide oxygen?” Oira told Al Jazeera.

The congressman suggested that the two countries can establish a barter trade system where they can exchange the necessary resources they need.

He said: “When the number of cases in Pakistan is also rising, this kind of resource sharing system through the Ouaga-Atari border can serve the two countries.”

India has received aid from China and other Islamic countries. If it feels ashamed and cannot get help from its so-called enemies, then we can pay or exchange sugar or wheat for barter trade to Pakistan.

“If we can provide vaccines to Pakistan, why not take oxygen from them? Who knows that this might improve our relationship with Pakistan,” he said.

Since the Indian subcontinent gained independence from British rule in 1947, relations between the two countries have been strained and split into a Muslim-majority Pakistan through a bloody split.

The two nuclear-weapon states have fought two of the three major wars on the disputed Kashmir Himalayan territory. They claimed to have sufficient territory but ruled some of them. The tension between the two countries was in 2019. It reached its peak when the special status of India was cancelled. It controls the Kashmir region.

However, after a rare thaw in relations between the two countries at the beginning of this year, the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to reach a ceasefire agreement in 2003 along their disputed border in Kashmir. After the thawing, Modi and Khan exchanged letters, and the two leaders emphasized the necessity of dialogue and cordial relations.

In addition to writing to Modi, Aujla also sent several letters to Federal Minister of Health Harsh Vardhan. He also contacted Om Birla, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Parliamentary Spokesperson, led by Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on April 29. He said that only Birla answered him.

When Al Jazeera requested an official comment on the matter, the Indian Ministry of Foreign Affairs denied any correspondence with Punjab State that imported oxygen from Pakistan. Vardhan and other health secretaries also did not respond to e-mail inquiries sent by Al Jazeera.

BJP spokesperson Vijay Chauthaiwale said that since the matter is related to the bilateral relationship between India and Pakistan, he will not comment on the matter.

Oira was worried. “The situation in Punjab is even worse than holding hands. The tragedy is waiting to happen,” he told Al Jazeera.


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