Indian Punjab, in short supply of oxygen, proposed to import oxygen from Pakistan but the central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi turned down the request. Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said on Tuesday that it had pushed the center to import liquid medical oxygen from Pakistan.
The daily new COVID-19 cases in Indian Punjab have crossed over 7,500, with 173 deaths. In his letter to PM Modi and home minister Amit Shah, the chief minister stated that his missive had an urgency as the state currently had over 10,000 patients on oxygen support. He also reported that Punjab was not given the due share of oxygen supply.
In a press release, the Punjab government stated, “The state was facing the prospect of a shortage of oxygen beds, he said, pointing out that the Government of India had expressed its inability to even allow Punjab’s local industry to undertake commercial import of LMO from Pakistan through the Wagah-Attari border, which is geographically proximate.”
CM Punjab said, “I regret to point out that this has not happened”. From early April, the Indian Punjab state leaders had been pushing for an ‘oxygen corridor’ from Pakistan as the graph of new COVID-19 rose sharply.
If lives in Punjab can be saved by purchasing medical oxygen supplies in Pakistan and bringing them across the Wagah border, what is the Modi government’s problems?
It’s time to put lives above false pride! https://t.co/NRSHw0ZO4z via @thewire_in
— Siddharth (@svaradarajan) May 6, 2021
Punjab Congress chief Sunil Jakhar also said that the Centre was the main roadblock in the chief minister’s proposal to import oxygen from Pakistan. He said that if a single life was lost in the state due to the oxygen shortage, then the Centre would be responsible.
He said, “I have written to PM Modi to accept all the help needed from our neighbors, especially Pakistan, which is around 50 km away and just a one-hour journey from Lahore to Amritsar via the Indo-Pak border. A special ‘oxygen corridor’ should be set up to ensure regular and timely oxygen supply for patients.”
Amid the COVID crisis, Pakistan had offered “ventilators, Bi-PAP, digital X-ray machines, PPEs, and related items” as aid relief to help with India’s fight against COVID-19. But India did not accept the offer.
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A medical corridor between neighbors
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi Wednesday proposed to launch a medical corridor between Pakistan and India particularly for the help of Kashmiris.
Mr. Qureshi said Pakistanis were ready to help India despite a challenging situation in their own country.
It appears Delhi govt has not taken steps to create buffer of liquid oxygen and streamlining its distribution: HC
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) May 5, 2021
He urged the United Nations, World Health Organization, and International Committee of the Red Cross to set up an international humanitarian medical corridor to help provide medical support to the people of India-held Kashmir (IHK).
The number of total Covid-19 cases in IIOJK was 191,869 with 2,458 deaths. While a new 4,650 cases were reported only yesterday.
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