High demand shoots up oxygen cylinder price

High demand shoots up oxygen cylinder price

Manav Mander

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 24

With the rise in level-3 Covid patients, the demand for oxygen has increased four times in the city. As the demand has increased, the prices of cylinders have also witnessed a sudden jump.

The oxygen cylinder that was earlier sold for Rs 150-200 is now being sold at double the price and sometimes even more.

Although an oxygen plant was recently set up at the Civil Hospital but it has failed to cater to the growing demand of oxygen at the hospital and it has to rely on the supply from private manufacturers. The production of cylinders every day at the Civil Hospital is around 125-130 but the consumption at the hospital is more than the production, as a result the Civil Hospital requires 150-200 more oxygen cylinders per day.

Deepak Singla from Laxmi Medical Gases said amidst surge in cases he was supplying nearly 600 oxygen cylinders to Covid centres across the city daily. “I am supplying 150-200 oxygen cylinders at the Civil Hospital and nearly 400 cylinders to other Covid-care Centres set up at various private hospitals,” said Singla.

He said earlier the price of one cylinder was between Rs 150-200 but now they were paying double the price and if there was an emergency, they had to pay even more.

Gagandeep Singh, MD, Weltech Equipment and Infrastructure Limited, an oxygen-generation unit, said due to the pandemic they were supplying oxygen only to the medical sector. Their 100 per cent supply was going to the medical sector.

When asked about the price, he said there was no change in the prices. “Our dealer price is same, Rs 150-200 for a cylinder, but we do not know at what price does the dealer sell oxygen cylinder to buyers,” he said.

A doctor of a private hospital said ideally the prices decrease due to increase in demand but what is happening now is opposite. “Earlier a cylinder was sold for Rs 100-150 but now the same is sold anywhere between Rs 400-600,” he said.

Owing to high nasal flow oxygen, a Covid patient requires around four cylinders per day.

DC constitutes oxygen audit committee

In the wake of a sharp increase in the use of oxygen for Covid patients in hospitals, Deputy Commissioner Varinder Kumar Sharma on Saturday set up an oxygen audit committee to monitor the consumption of life-saving gas in the district.

The Deputy Commissioner said the 11-member committee would be headed by AETC-II Damanjeet Singh Mann.

He said the committee was tasked to review the consumption of oxygen by the hospitals/other health institutions and the balance stock.

Further, it would ensure that the use of oxygen for the treatment of serious Covid-19 patients was rational and per prescribed treatment protocols. The Deputy Commissioner has asked all hospitals to use oxygen only for the serious/critical patients to ensure rational use of the gas.

The Deputy Commissioner also warned hoarders of oxygen. Severest of severe action would be taken if anyone was found involved in profiteering, the Deputy Commissioner added.

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