Punjab CM warns of strict action against hoarding of oxygen cylinders

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Taking stock of the continuing Oxygen shortage in the state, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday warned of strict action against black marketing, hoarding or private profiteering of oxygen cylinders or smuggling out of Punjab, especially when oxygen allocation of Punjab was itself not being met.

Urging all good private hospitals to increase beds, he said these would be supplied adequate Oxygen by the government agencies and no punitive action will be taken in case of any mishap due to lack of Oxygen. The Chief Minister was chairing a virtual Covid emergency review meeting of these 6 districts – Ludhiana, SAS Nagar (Mohali), Jalandhar, Bathinda, Patiala and Amritsar.

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Even as Health Minister Balbir Sidhu expressed concern over people of Punjab not getting space due to patients coming from outside, the Chief Minister said he was not in favour of refusing hospital care to any patient from other states like Haryana and Delhi, despite the criticality of Oxygen supplies. “We must not refuse any patient who needs hospital care,” he said, adding that “we will never close our doors to any patient.”

Stressing that “they (patients coming from other states) are our people, as India is one country,” he said “they are welcome to come and we will look after them as our own.” As per estimates, one-fourth of the beds in Punjab are at present occupied by patients from outside the state, the meeting was informed. On the issue of Oxygen supplies, the Chief Minister further said he had spoken to the Union Home Minister for additional Oxygen allocation and will also ask the Centre for more tankers. He further said the state government had taken up with GoI the issue of allotment of tankers for transportation, to enable Punjab to avail its oxygen allocation from the Eastern region.