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Window Seat: Stop black marketing of Oxygen cylinders

16/05/2021 at 7:25 AM

Experts have said that the major reasons of the shortage of oxygen was not dearth of production or production facilities but failure in demand-mapping, supply chain management and taking the oxygen cylinders to the last mile- to the patients.

The crisis was aggravated at some places like Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad which had high demand by hoarding and black-marketing of oxygen cylinders by unscrupulous persons. The police and administration was probably too stretched to look into this or simply did not care.

But it created panic like situation which had a ripple effect across the country. As a result in oxygen surplus states like Odisha too there were reports of shortage as people started hoarding and holding on to the oxygen cylinders. There was zero- scarcity of medical oxygen gas but the cylinders were scarce. As people started hoarding and holding on to the cylinders- others could not get oxygen. Hospitals were not prepared for the unprecedented spike in demand for oxygen that the second wave of Corona caused.

The government must take steps to stop black marketing of oxygen cylinders and ensure adequate oxygen supply to the hospitals. Now that more number of cryogenic tankers has been pressed into transporting liquid oxygen, steps have been taken to fast track delivery of oxygen and turn-around time of the tankers and oxygen concentrators have been imported- the supply side will improve. Stop black marketing that thrives on manufactured artificial scarcity and things will normalize.

Raghunath Mahapatra

Eminent sculptor of traditional idols and architect of Kalinga style temples Raghunath Mahapatra, who had been bestowed with Padmashree and Padma Bhushan succumbed to Covid on Sunday, 9 May.

Anne Frank had written: Dead people receive more flowers than the living ones, because regret is stronger than gratitude. So true in case of Raghunath Mahapatra, the master sculptor, who wanted to build the second Konark. We did not allow him to do that. He faced criticism for his ‘audacity’ to build a replica of the 13 century monument.

It could have showed to the world what the artists of Odisha could do. Besides bringing world attention to the artistry of the present day sculptors it could have showcased the image of the State. Alas, we were so short sighted that we failed to see the possibilities.

Rest in peace, Raghunath Babu. You had the ability to put life in a piece of stone, but did not have the ability to sow reason into the minds of some bigots.

In Photo: The Konark Horse – state emblem of Odisha, replica sculpted by Padma Vibhusana Raghunath Mohapatra and installed at Master Canteen square of Bhubaneswar in 1980.

The Feast on Eid

Eid is considered to be a festival of joy and piety. But every year from my childhood what I look forward to is the grand meal that follows. This year, of course the Corona pandemic would deprive me from partaking the grand meal, especially the delicious mutton preparations and sweet dishes.

Jawahar Sarkar, former culture secretary, a widely travelled man has recently written about the special dishes Muslims across the world prepare on this occasion.

Different countries have their specialties and Russian Muslims carry on the national fondness for all things in dumpling form — by gorging on Manti, a meat-filled momo during Eid. In China, You Xiang (flour, water and yeast patties fried in oil) are either given as a gift or eaten as part of the Eid feast.

But Corona can hardly prevent Eid from its sweet sugary feast. It is time for chocolate, nuts, cookies like Kahkaa, bakery goodies, sweets of every conceivable type. The lachcha and sweet seyyunia and dozens of delicious condiments made of milk, nuts, dates and vermicelli.

Afghanistan does it with sweet cakes and jalebis, while Indonesians celebrate with a sticky rice preparation cooked in bamboo called Lemang. In Turkey, classic sweets such as Baklava are given to friends, family and neighbours as a present during Eid, or Seker Bayrami as it’s commonly known in the country.

In Arab countries, sweet dates are an integral part of the month and people bake Kleichas, which are rose-flavoured biscuits that contain a filling of nuts and dates. Both Iraq and Saudi Arabia consider them to be their national cookie. In Yemen, Bint al sahn honey cake, and is topped with nigella seeds is the specialty.

One reason for sweets is to restore energy that fasting may have sapped, because at the end of the day, all time-tested festivals have their own critical reasons.

Migratory Birds

8 May, Saturday was World Migratory Bird Day. Every year World Migratory Bird Day has a theme. This year’s theme is: “Sing, Fly, Soar – Like a Bird!”

Migratory Birds are world travelers. For generations they have connected people, countries and ecosystems. But they bear the brunt of climate change, biodiversity loss & pollution. Let us secure the future of the birds on our planet.

In photo: Caspian Tern photographed at Pulicat. Pulicat Lagoon is the second largest brackish water lagoon in India, after Chilika Lake measuring 759 square kilometres located at Andhra Pradesh-Tamilnadu border.

Tailpiece: How times have changed!

Isn’t it strange! In normal times we would be worried if someone was in the ICU and was on oxygen support; now we are relieved if someone has found a bed in the ICU and has got oxygen support.

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