Mamata urges PM to allot, supply PSA oxygen plants fairly
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister on Friday raising concern over the Centre's move of "downwardly revising" the allotment of PSA oxygen plants for Bengal as the Modi government has now informed of setting up only four such plants in the first phase despite initial sanction to install 70 in different hospitals.
"For quite some time now, the Government of India apparently has been contemplating to supply PSA plants to hospitals in states. But the matter is not progressing much. Priorities are being fixed and re-fixed, implementing agencies (DRDO, NHAI) are being settled and unsettled, quota for West Bengal in being downwardly revised and further downwardly revised every day. We were told we shall get 70 PSA plants, now we are told that we shall get four in the first phase with no clarity on the remaining PSA plants!" Banerjee's letter reads.
Reiterating her firm belief that the battle against Covid will be won with coordinated and collaborative efforts of all stakeholders involved in augmenting necessary infrastructure, Banerjee has sought the Prime Minister's intervention in her Friday's letter to "get the priorities, implementing agencies, and quota fixed, just fairly and quickly".
This is Banerjee's sixth letter to the Prime Minister since May 5 after she took oath as the Chief Minister for the third consecutive term. In the second letter (dated May 7) itself, she had mentioned the rise in the requirement of medical oxygen in the state and spoke about the requirement of 550 MT of medical oxygen per day in the state.
The state was well aware that there would be in total 105 PSA oxygen plants shortly as the Centre would be setting up 70 and the state Public Health Engineering is installing the remaining 35 in different state-run hospitals. In this connection, Banerjee mentioned in her letter that the state's "own supplementary PSA-installation plans by our state agencies and on the strength of our own funds are getting disturbed because of the indecisiveness at Delhi".
It needs mention that the state government has given relaxation in the tender process as well as to the PHE department to speed up the installation of PSA oxygen plants at different hospitals. Moreover, all steps have been taken to increase the number of oxygen beds as on Thursday only 100 oxygen beds were added in ESI hospitals across the state.
The Centre bringing down the quota of PSA oxygen plants to four (for the time being) for Bengal has taken a political turn with the Trinamool Congress raising allegations of the step-motherly attitude of the BJP-led Centre towards Bengal. TMC Rajya Sabha MP Sukhendu Sekhar Roy said: "Do they consider the fight against Covid a joke? This is unfortunate." Left Front chairman Biman Bose also stated that the state should be given oxygen proportionate to that of its population. BJP claimed that TMC is doing politics out of the issue.