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Bengal should get 10% of liquid O2 imported by Centre: Mamata

Kolkata: In a bid to ensure a constant supply of oxygen for Covid patients, outgoing Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stated that Bengal should get at least 10 per cent of the liquid oxygen that the Centre was importing. This comes when the Bengal government too has taken up a series of initiatives to augment the supply of medical oxygen.

"The Government of India is importing 50000 MT liquid oxygen. Bengal should get at least 10 per cent of the same," Banerjee said while addressing a video conference from Bolpur on Saturday.

Stating that she held five meetings with the top brass of the state government including Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Banerjee said: "Decision has been taken to convert the oxygen for industrial purpose for medical use. In the next seven days, nitrogen and argon cylinder tankers will be converted to medical oxygen tankers." The state government will also procure 5,000 more oxygen cylinders and take the total oxygen cylinder number in the state to 20,000. Steps have also been taken to check hoarding of the oxygen cylinders.

She further said 200 litre liquid oxygen cylinders will be bought and the state Health department will be taking steps in this regard. Banerjee further said she has discussed with an oxygen procuring company in the state, which has assured of doubling their production.

Meanwhile, state government sources said the Centre would give 80 MT oxygen per day to Bengal. But the same has to be taken from Jharkhand. The state government has written to the Centre stating that it will consume time and increase transportation cost. Instead, Bengal can give oxygen to other states by retaining 80 MT of the same.

At the same time, Banerjee urged people not to panic and use masks whenever they move out of their houses. She also took a dig at the Centre saying that they were only worried about what was happening in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat. "I have no objection if anything is done for the two states. But step-motherly attitude towards other states is not acceptable," Banerjee said while campaigning through virtual mode for Birbhum district, which is going to polls on April 29.

Candidates of all the nine Assembly seats – Bikash Roy Chowdhury (Suri), Chandra Nath Sinha (Bolpur), Bidhan Chandra Majhi (Nanoor), Abhijit Singha (Labpur), Nilabati Saha (Sainthia), Abhijit Ray (Mayureswar), Asish Banerjee (Rampurhat), Ashok Kumar Chattopadhyay (Hansan), Rajendra Prasad Singh (Nalhati) and Abdur Rahaman (Murarai) – were present in the virtual campaign.

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