Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope on Wednesday said that the state government had approached its neighbouring states for medical oxygen supply, but they were not able to help because of its increased demand, PTI reported.

“We have approached all the neighbouring states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to supply oxygen for medical purpose, but owing to their own rising demand, these states have expressed their inability to supply oxygen,” Tope told reporters in Mumbai. “Hence, Maharashtra needs to reduce its wastage and work on fixing its leakages [wherever found].”

Medical-grade oxygen is used in the treatment of critical coronavirus patients as well as cases of respiratory diseases. On Tuesday, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said that there was a shortage of medical oxygen in the state. He had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to deploy the Indian Air Force to deliver oxygen tanks.

On Monday, Maharashtra’s health minister had said that the state was using its entire oxygen supply for medical purposes because of the rising coronavirus cases, reported Mumbai Mirror. He also said that plants in Maharashtra were producing 1,200 metric tonnes of oxygen per day.

The demand for oxygen is expected to climb to 1,500 to 1,600 metric tonnes every day, state Food and Drug Administration Minister Rajendra Shingne said.

Maharasthra is so far the worst-hit state in the second wave of the pandemic. On Wednesday, the state recorded 58,952 new cases, taking the tally in the state to to 35,78,160 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020.

Amid the alarming rise in cases, Thackeray announced a slew of fresh restrictions in the state. The curbs came into effect from 8 pm on Wednesday. Thackeray described the new order as “janata curfew”, or a self-imposed people’s curfew, instead of a lockdown.