After the West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking 550 MT of oxygen on the first day of her third term as CM– the central government has now reverted. Taking to Twitter, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has answered in a four-page long letter to CM Mamata and assured the Centre will take all required steps to help the state in fighting COVID-19 and will continue to hand-hold Bengal during this challenging time of pandemic by providing requisite resources.
In his letter, Union Health Minister said that there is a need to augment the health infrastructure of the State. He added that since the very onset of the pandemic, the Centre has been supporting each and every State across the country not just financially, but also through requisite diagnostics, therapeutics, medical devices, vaccines and other essential material and services. The testing needs to be significantly ramped up. The Central government wishes that Bengal is ahead of the curve when it comes to tracking infection, by testing more. he added.
“The government of India will continue to provide COVID-19 vaccine free to all the States/UTs and so far provided West Bengal with 18.38 lakh N95 masks, 4.84 lakh PPE kits, 1,245 ventilators and 43.5 lakh Hydroxychloroquine tablets for the management of COVID-19 pandemic. As many as 05 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants have been sanctioned for West Bengal, out of which two have already been installed and made functional”, said Harsh Vardhan.
Apart from the delivery of these essential medical devices and drugs, the State of West Bengal has been supported with a financial grant of Rs. 295.28 Crores under the COVID-19 package for taking all possible measures to contain the virus.
700 Oxygen cylinders to Bengal
“To further strengthen the oxygen infrastructure, orders for oxygen cylinders have been placed for an additional 1 cylinders on April 21, 2021. The procurement includes 54,000 jumbo cylinders (D type) as well as 73,000 regular cylinders (B type). Under this initiative, a tentative allocation for the State of West Bengal is 849 D-Type and 1504 B-Type cylinders. Out of this, 700 Cylinders will be delivered to the State on or before May 21, 2021. We also encourage the state to also take proactive steps to build oxygen plants to ensure hospitals have a dedicated supply of oxygen.” the letter read.
Dr Harsh Vardhan added that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Department of Health Research, Government of India has facilitated setting up 74 COVID testing labs in Government Sector and 54 labs in the private sector. ICMR has also provided one Roche 800 machine in ICMR-NICED Kolkata for COVID-19 testing, 02 RTPCR machines, 62.58 lakh RT PCR kits, 22.28 lakh RNA extraction kits, 19.70 lakh VTMs and 2.40 lakh Rapid Antigen kits to the state, free of cost.
(Image Credits: PTI/@drharshvardhan/TWITTER)