The police have filed an FIR and launched a probe after a tanker carrying liquid oxygen, travelling from Panipat to Sirsa in Haryana, had gone missing. The case was filed based on the complaint lodged by the district drug controller.
The truck had left Panipat for Sirsa after being filled with liquid oxygen on Wednesday. However, it did not reach its desired destination, said Manjeet Singh, Station House Officer (SHO) of Matlauda, Panipat. The preliminary investigation revealed that the tanker’s driver had switched off his mobile phone shortly after leaving the refinery. The police suspect a conspiracy behind the disappearance of the oxygen tanker.
It is important to note that the Panipat refinery for medical grade oxygen started its operations on Wednesday itself. Indian Oil sent the first batch of medical-grade oxygen to Delhi and then to Sirsa. Indian Oil will supply 150 metric tons of oxygen to various hospitals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab. For fulfilling the oxygen demand, high purity oxygen used in the mono ethylene glycol (MEG) unit of the Panipat refinery has been diverted to produce medical-grade liquid oxygen.
The incident took place in the wake of the growing demand for oxygen across the country as the number of coronavirus cases soar at an alarming rate. Some state governments have claimed that there has been a shortage of medicinal oxygen, especially after the critical COVID-19 patients demanding supplemental oxygen has increased in the past few weeks.
In a separate incident, Haryana minister Anil Vij on Wednesday claimed that a tanker carrying medicinal oxygen for COVID-19 patients in hospitals, heading from Panipat to Faridabad, was “looted” by the Delhi government when it was passing through their territory.
“One of our O2 tankers was looted by Delhi Govt that was going to Faridabad. From now, I’ve ordered police protection for all tankers,” the minister said. He added that if state governments engage in this kind of activity, the health infrastructure will suffer.