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Indian government directs states, UTs to ensure uninterrupted oxygen supply

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Apr 22, 2021 7:04 pm
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Oxygen cylinders
Oxygen cylinders at a Covid Hospital in Nagaland in 2020. (Representational image) EM Image.

Our Correspondent
Kohima, April 22 (EMN):
The Central government has directed the authorities of states and union territories (UTs) to ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen and placed the onus on the deputy commissioner and superintendent of police for its implementation.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, in an order issued on Thursday, said no restrictions would be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states and transport authorities would be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles.

“There should be free movement of oxygen carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without any restriction,” read the order.

“No restrictions will be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to the hospitals of the State / UT in which they are located,” it added.

It further said that no authority should attach oxygen carrying vehicles passing through the district or areas for making supplies specific to any particular district or area.

It also stated that supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the government, was prohibited with effect from April 22 till further orders.

“States / UTs shall strictly abide by the supply plan of medical oxygen prepared by EG- l and as revised from time-to-time. The district magistrates / deputy commissioners and senior superintendents of police / superintendents of police / deputy commissioners of police will be personally liable for implementation of the above directions,” it read.

PM reviews oxygen supply 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a high-level meeting on Thursday to review the oxygen supply across the country and discuss ways and means to boost its availability.

Modi spoke about the need to work rapidly on multiple aspects such as increasing production of oxygen, increasing the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities, in formed an update from PMO.

The meeting was attended by Cabinet secretary, principal secretary to PM, Home secretary, Health secretary and officials from Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Road Transport, Pharmaceuticals, and Niti Aayog.

It said that officials briefed the prime minister about an elaborate exercise that was being carried out in co-ordination with the states to identify their demand for oxygen and ensure adequate supply accordingly.

Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT/ day of liquid medical oxygen, government of India has from April 21, allocated 6,822 MT/ day to these states.

Further, the prime minister stressed on the need to ensure faster transportation of oxygen to the states. It was discussed that Railways was being used for rapid and non-stop long distance transport of tankers. Similarly, empty oxygen tankers were being air-lifted to oxygen suppliers to reduce one-way journey time in oxygen supply.

The prime minster directed the officials to ensure that oxygen supply to various states happen in a ‘smooth, unhindered manner’. He spoke about the need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction and has asked ministries to ‘explore various innovative ways’ to increase production and supply of oxygen.

“PM also stressed that the states should come down heavily on hoarding,” it added.

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By Reyivolü Rhakho Updated: Apr 22, 2021 7:04:01 pm