Shimla, Apr 29
People have already started facing the burnt of short supply of Covid medicine and other life saving kits. Day by day it is becoming a herculean task to assist those who have
contracted or are in critical condition. Oxygen and other Covid related equipment which are the only cure for infected patients, is being priced like gold with no regulators in place to stop this from happening.
The dilemma of short and delay in supply is universal to this pandemic however now stage is such that people have to buy the Covid logistic and life saving equipment on exorbitant or dearer rates.
 ” When a friend whose mother was in need of oxygen, enquired for it in the open market, the sellers demanded Rs 12000/-  for a  8ltr oxygen cylinder of, which is priced at around 4000 to 5500/- otherwise, stated Vikram Sharma a resident of Shimla.
Even after offering a exorbitant cost of more than Rs 50,000 and above no cylinders are available with any local oxygen supplier in the state, an attendants informed. Even, the ’55 puffer Oxygen bottle kit’ which was costing around Rs 400 to 500 per bottles has risen to Rs 700 to Rs 800 now. Such kit could prove the life saving if any one requires emergency transportation without oxygen cylinder during Covid emergency from home to Hospital.
The Private demand of booking of Oxygen cylinders has soured up to 5400 in waiting list for local dealers that too when companies would be able to supply in open market after restoration of new cylinders.
Other Covid related equipment like Oximeter, nebulizer, sanitizers, antibiotics and other drugs have been increased many fold. Oximeter which was available at the rate of Rs 500 to 700 per piece before the 2nd wave is now being supplied at the rate of Rs 1700 to  2000.
Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur confirmed on the record that there not sufficient number of empty oxygen cylinder. Besides today, Chief minister urged the Union health ministry to provide the state with 5,000 D-Type  and 3,000 B-Type oxygen cylinders to gap the requirement. The same becomes evident too, as Mandi DC today issued directives in district for all concerned to disclose all oxygen cylinders held in possession to District administration in 24 hours.
The state by default of industries has sufficient Oxygen concentrators and two plants in the hospital having total capacity of 42 metric tons. Baring one or two cases there is no acute shortage of Oxygen in the state hospital so far however rapid contamination by the virus situation is turning worrisome, therefore provisions of oxygen and ventilators are need of the hour.
The alarm call which was expected much ahead of this surge indicates criminal negligence as preemptively planned measures could have saved many lives. The Covid situation is worsening in six districts of this hill state as positivity-rate and virtual load (as per the national benchmark of above 15 per cent) is exceeding exposing the state half (ill-equipped to face it) despite its overwhelming gesture to supply oxygen to National Capital Region Delhi.
The State is trying to built up 5000 fully dedicated beds for Covid pandemic to overcome 2nd wave peak as each bed with oxygenated capacity could only save most of lives if it succeed to commission them immediately.
Number of casualties are increasing un-proportionally above 20 per day now.  Yet, public at-large, besides losing their dear ones to the pandemic, are forced to shell out hard earned money to the in-sensitive profit mongers, who still operate unabated.


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