Bhubaneswar: Even though Odisha has formed a number of special tasks forces to restrict black marketing of essentials for the treatment of Covid-19, reports of the illegal sale of medical oxygen at a very higher price is rampant in the State Capital.
The oxygen regulator, which used to be sold at Rs 1200 to 1500, now is being sold at Rs 4000 and not easily available in the market. Similarly, the price of oxygen mask recorded around eight-fold rise and is being sold at around Rs 400 or more as compared to earlier Rs 50-60.
Chemist shops owners in the Capital city have also admitted to such reports and demanded stern action against the hoarders.
“There is not sufficient stock of oxygen, masks in the market, but it will be available soon. We have noticed many chemist shops sold these essentials at a very high price. This is inhuman and not expected at this crisis situation," said Dharmendra Narayan Senapati, MD of Rabindra Medical and Surgical.
“A thorough audit is required by the special task force to check the black hoarding of the essentials for the treatment of Covid-19,” said Pragati Ranjan Mohanty, president of Bhubaneswar Chemist and Druggist Association.
Not only oxygen, the ambulance fare also witnessed two-three-fold rise in Bhubaneswar. One Ratikant Nayak of Prashanti Vihar in the State Capital has alleged that he had to pay Rs 1500 as ambulance fare for a distance of 10 kms.
“The ambulance fare from Capital Hospital to Prashanti Vihar is somehow around Rs 500 to 600. But, I was charged Rs 1500 for a distance of only 10 kms. It is very difficult for middle-class and lower middle-class to cope up with the sudden rise in the fare,” alleged Nayak.
An ambulance driver has also admitted to the allegations of Lenka. “The fare of ambulance has increased owing to present Covid-19 situation. Many drivers are charging more than the normal rate,” said Sarat Kumar Behera, an ambulance driver.