Gasping for oxygen?

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Many states in India have been complaining of shortage of oxygen as the second wave of coronavirus grips the nation drastically. Recently, Delhi pleaded with the Union government to intervene and help the state out of the oxygen crisis given the rising numbers of positive cases. Oxygen is crucial in treating the Covid cases and given the recent spike in the positivity rate of the nation, many states are fearing a shortfall of oxygen if the situation goes out of control.

Interestingly, the Union government has requested the state to maintain calm and assured sufficient availability of oxygen. Having said this, the very Union government also was reported commenting, “Beg, borrow, steal… securing oxygen as per requirement is the state’s duty.” Now, let us take the assurance of the Union government to be true. In this case, it would only mean that the current shortage of oxygen has been created artificially for profiteering. If so, this would be the highest level of criminal neglect of responsibility and carelessness on the parts of respective governments. Oxygen has become a matter of life and death given the current scenario. Trying to make a profit out of this dire situation is not only inhuman but disgusting at the same time. A good number of patients have succumbed to the virus owing to the non-availability of oxygen, this may easily qualify as the intention of culpable homicide. But where is the accountability? Who is to be blamed for the shortage? The states turn their heads towards the Union who in turn points its fingers towards the states. Amidst this blame game, its precious lives that are paying the price. With no one to claim responsibility over the matter, the future seems to be even darker. Every state is up on heels fighting off the virus, but news reports of several states suffering shortage of oxygen have only injected fears in the minds of citizens. Interestingly, the reaction of the Union government over the whole matter may be called very immature for the moment. The Union government’s pro-active approach and support to the states is the need of the hour.

The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, as per its data, informed that the daily consumption was only 3842 MT as on April 12 last while the total medical and industrial stock in the country is 50000 MT as well as daily production capacity is 7287 MT. Mathematically speaking, as per this data, the daily oxygen consumption of India is 54 percent of the production capacity. Now, if this data is to be believed, then the authorities must investigate the matter and put a cork to the issue of oxygen shortage. Both the Union and state governments must come together to ensure that oxygen reaches the needy during these times of a national crisis. Meanwhile, those behind the creation of this artificial scarcity of oxygen must be brought to book. All in all, during times that call of utmost cooperation, such confusions and cunningness must not be given ground to spread its roots.

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