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About India’s booming Covid black market

• Daily demand for medical grade oxygen in India is said to be around 2 million standard oxygen cylinders, which is the highest in the world, becoming the first country to register 4,00,000 new Covid cases in a single day.

• The huge demand for oxygen has fueled a booming unregulated black market that only the rich can afford and where vulnerable families are scammed.

• A volunteer from UP said, “In the black market, an oxygen cylinder which would normally coast about ₹6,000 to ₹10,000 depending on the size, now costs anywhere between ₹60,000 to ₹1,00,000.

• The average rate of medical grade oxygen cylinder in the black market is about ₹80,000 which is more than the average monthly income of the richest 1% in the country.

• “It is simple matter of supply and demand; there is too much demand, and not enough supply, so we are forced to sell oxygen concentrators, which are not locally made, for ten times their price” said a Delhi-based black-market supplier.