An oxygen tanker leaked while being filled at Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital, Nashik on Wednesday afternoon. Officials are said to have reached the spot where the mishap took place and operations are underway to contain the leak.
#WATCH | An Oxygen tanker leaked while tankers were being filled at Dr Zakir Hussain Hospital in Nashik, Maharashtra. Officials are present at the spot, operation to contain the leak is underway. Details awaited. pic.twitter.com/zsxnJscmBp— ANI (@ANI) April 21, 2021
As per the latest reports, at least 22 people have died of oxygen deprivation as the tank leak had stopped ventilators. Reports stated that ventilators in the hospital were stopped for at least 30 minutes. District Collector of Nashik has stated that the patients have succumbed to oxygen deprivation.
The state of Maharashtra is facing an acute shortage of oxygen amid the second wave of coronavirus which has crippled the health infrastructure.
The state has over 60,000 people on oxygen support in hospitals and many others on oxygen support at home. The shortage of oxygen has forced several hospitals to stop new admissions as the current supply is said to last for only a few hours.
Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “We’re anticipating that 15% of currently active cases may need oxygen. As of now, we have arrangements of 1550 MT of oxygen in the state. We’re trying to distribute the same. We’re also expecting the Oxygen which Govt of India will import.”
On the other hand, Maharashtra Health Secretary Dr Pradeep Vyas advised, “We need restraint (in oxygen use) to avoid panic. Panic and anxiety increase demand.”
State governments, private players and central ministries come together to battle the crisis
Maharashtra is reportedly receiving 50 MT a day of liquid medical oxygen from Chhattisgarh, and another 50 MT a day from Gujarat.
Reliance Industries Ltd., which operates the world’s biggest refining complex in Gujarat, is supplying 100 MT of oxygen from Jamnagar to Maharashtra at no cost.
Apart from Reliance, Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel and SAIL have also come forward to supply oxygen to states for medical use.
Sajjan Jindal-led JSW Steel, from its Dolvi plant in Maharashtra, is supplying 185 tonne of oxygen daily to the state government.
In an attempt to plug the shortage, the Centre’s Empowered Group-2 has decided to divert over 17,000 MT of LMO to the 12 surge states in three phases between April 20-30.
7 empty oxygen tankers departed from Kalamboli goods yard for Visakhapatnam steel plant on Tuesday setting into motion the Railway Ministry’s ‘Oxygen Express’ initiative. These tankers will be loaded with medical oxygen for Maharashtra and return through the green corridor created for an uninterrupted supply of oxygen to the state.