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Oxygen supply to hospitals hit

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, Dec 13 - The ongoing anti-Citizenship Act protests and the curfew at places have hit oxygen supply to all major government as well as private hospitals in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland as well as Bhutan.

Vehicles ferrying oxygen cylinders have been stopped by protesters at various places, while police have failed to provide adequate security to the vehicles.

�The vehicles have not been able to ply normally since last two days, after the public protests started. The Health department has not taken any initiative in this regard. We have repeatedly requested the police to help us, but they also pleaded helplessness,� sources said.

�Our vehicles are being stopped by mobs, which refuse to understand the essential nature of our service. Yesterday, our driver and labourers were beaten up outside the GMCH by a mob. The workers are now refusing to report for work. We have to double their pay, and still, we can�t reach on time,� he added.

The government today provided police escort for oxygen cylinder carrying vehicles to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), but the private hospitals are left to their own means. Some private hospitals are using their ambulances to carry the cylinders.

Admitting the shortfall in supply, the general manager of a city hospital said they are making their own arrangements to bring the oxygen from the suppliers.

�A driver of vehicle carrying oxygen to our hospital was hit at Pachim Boragaon and the vehicle was not allowed to move. We need around eight cylinders every hour. We are sending our ambulances to bring the cylinders during the early morning hours when there is least disturbance. Now we have a stock for 12 hours. We will have to make arrangements again in the morning,� he said.

�Our costs have skyrocketed, but the government will not increase our payment as we are bound under contract. And to top it, payments are held up for more than one year by the government,� a supplier said.

Shortage of diesel has also affected the supply chain, the source said, adding that though the cylinder-carrying vehicles had filled up tanks, fuel availability is running low now.

�For distances that took 45 minutes to one hour even during peak traffic hours, it is taking eight to nine hours now, when there are no vehicles on the roads, as we have to clear poles and debris to ply. And then, mobs stop us and we have to convince them to allow passage,� the sources said.

The GMCH needs the maximum medical oxygen in the city. Around 250 patients survive on oxygen daily at GMCH of which around 100 are infants.

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Oxygen supply to hospitals hit

GUWAHATI, Dec 13 - The ongoing anti-Citizenship Act protests and the curfew at places have hit oxygen supply to all major government as well as private hospitals in Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland as well as Bhutan.

Vehicles ferrying oxygen cylinders have been stopped by protesters at various places, while police have failed to provide adequate security to the vehicles.

�The vehicles have not been able to ply normally since last two days, after the public protests started. The Health department has not taken any initiative in this regard. We have repeatedly requested the police to help us, but they also pleaded helplessness,� sources said.

�Our vehicles are being stopped by mobs, which refuse to understand the essential nature of our service. Yesterday, our driver and labourers were beaten up outside the GMCH by a mob. The workers are now refusing to report for work. We have to double their pay, and still, we can�t reach on time,� he added.

The government today provided police escort for oxygen cylinder carrying vehicles to Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), but the private hospitals are left to their own means. Some private hospitals are using their ambulances to carry the cylinders.

Admitting the shortfall in supply, the general manager of a city hospital said they are making their own arrangements to bring the oxygen from the suppliers.

�A driver of vehicle carrying oxygen to our hospital was hit at Pachim Boragaon and the vehicle was not allowed to move. We need around eight cylinders every hour. We are sending our ambulances to bring the cylinders during the early morning hours when there is least disturbance. Now we have a stock for 12 hours. We will have to make arrangements again in the morning,� he said.

�Our costs have skyrocketed, but the government will not increase our payment as we are bound under contract. And to top it, payments are held up for more than one year by the government,� a supplier said.

Shortage of diesel has also affected the supply chain, the source said, adding that though the cylinder-carrying vehicles had filled up tanks, fuel availability is running low now.

�For distances that took 45 minutes to one hour even during peak traffic hours, it is taking eight to nine hours now, when there are no vehicles on the roads, as we have to clear poles and debris to ply. And then, mobs stop us and we have to convince them to allow passage,� the sources said.

The GMCH needs the maximum medical oxygen in the city. Around 250 patients survive on oxygen daily at GMCH of which around 100 are infants.