IIOJK order ban on supply of oxygen to private society, NGOs » Kashmir Media Service

Srinagar, May 11 (KMS): In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, in an inhuman move, the authorities have stopped the supply of medical oxygen to humanitarian groups and Covid patients undergoing treatment at home, putting the lives of thousands of people at risk.

The District Magistrate Srinagar, Aijaz Asad, in an order directed the oxygen manufacturing units within the jurisdiction of the district to stop supply to private persons, societies and non-governmental organisations. He said they shall supply oxygen refills only to the designated hospitals/clinics.

The order added that supplies to private persons/societies/NGOs (other than private hospitals) shall be made only with prior approval of the district magistrate, Srinagar.

The move has, however, drawn severe criticism from many residents and politicians, who have expressed concerns that banning NGOs and others from accessing medical oxygen will end up making Covid-19 patients more vulnerable to adverse medical conditions.

Reacting to the development, the Vice President of National Conference, Omar Abdullah, took to Twitter to express displeasure. “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Stopping the hoarding/black marketing of oxygen cylinders is a laudable goal,” Abdullah tweeted. “Preventing NGOs or making it tougher for them to help people get cylinders is dangerous. NGOs were working when the government was still in deep slumber.”

NGOs involved in relief work in Kashmir also expressed their concern.

Mohammed Afaaq Sayeed, who heads the oxygen unit of Socio Reforms Organisation (SRO), said providing oxygen is a commitment and not a one-time affair.

Dr Qazi, a Srinagar resident, said, “This is an unprecedented medical emergency. If there are organisations that want to chip in and help, they should not be disallowed.”

Another Srinagar resident, Shahid Ahmed, whose mother suffers from non-Covid medical ailments, expressed similar concerns. Do the authorities realise that there are other patients who do not suffer from Covid-19, he said. Should we throw such patients onto the streets?” he asked. “My mother suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and she has needed continuous supply of oxygen for the last 2-3 months. What are we supposed to do now? said Ahmed, who is a businessman by profession.

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