At least four coronavirus patients died at a hospital in Madhya Pradesh's Dewas district had insufficient levels of oxygen for over seven hours on September 9, after Maharashtra, from where a large share of the state's store of oxygen is bought, restricted that supply.
The Amaltas Institute of Medical Sciences, a COVID care centre, put its patients on non-invasive ventilators to provide them with low amounts of oxygen, however, four of them died.
The government has cited inadequate oxygen supply, but also insisted that the deaths had no relation with that.
"We made an inquiry. They (Amaltas Hospital) have 400 cylinders and they use almost 200 on a daily basis. On Tuesday night, however, there was some problem loading the vehicle in Bhopal (which is around 160 km away), which led to some miscommunication. That is why there was a crisis," Dr MP Sharma, Chief Medical Officer (Dewas), said.
"The deaths are not related to (the problem with) oxygen supply," he added.
Nearly 15 districts in Madhya Pradesh supplement the local supply of oxygen cylinders with units from Maharashtra.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan on September 10 said that he had raised the issue with his Maharashtra counterpart Uddhav Thackeray.
"The shortage of oxygen was worrying me a lot. I spoke to Uddhav Thackeray and requested him not to stop the supply at this difficult time. He has assured me that (although) Maharashtra is (also) facing some problems... he will try and ensure oxygen supply to Madhya Pradesh continues," CM Chouhan said.
The Chief Minister also said "alternate arrangements" had been made.
"Madhya Pradesh has oxygen production capacity of 50 tonnes. This was increased to 120 tonnes. We will take it 150 tonnes by September 30," he said.
CM Chouhan said that a company called INOX, which supplied oxygen from a plant in Maharashtra's Nagpur, would supplement its production with inputs from its plants in Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.
"As part of our long-term planning we have given a green light to INOX to set up an oxygen plant, with an installed capacity of 200 tonnes, in Hoshangabad district in the next six months," he said.