Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was at the helm of a high-level meeting in order to tackle the issue of declining oxygen supply across the country. The officials at the meeting informed the PM about the efforts undertaken to improve oxygen supply, in addition to discussing ways to help boost its availability.
In the meeting, the officials noted that over the last few days, availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen in India has increased by about 3,300 MT per day with contributions from private and public steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of supply of oxygen for non-essential industries.
The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Home Secretary, Health Secretary & Officials from Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Ministry of Road Transport, Pharmaceuticals, and NITI Aayog members.
Additionally, PM Modi spoke to officials about multiple things including increasing the production of oxygen, increasing the speed of distribution & using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities.
PM Modi was informed that the present demand of oxygen from 20 states 6,785 MT/ day of Liquid Medical Oxygen and that from April 21 onwards, the Government of India was allocating 6,822 MT/ day to these states.
The Prime Minister further placed huge importance on faster transportation of oxygen to the states, with railways being utilized for rapid and non-stop long-distance transport of oxygen tankers. Similarly, the Indian Air Force is being used to airlift oxygen tankers, essential medicines, etc. The PM also highlighted the need for states to clamp down on hoarding.
Order passed by Union Health Secretary
In light of the high-level meeting chaired by the PM, an order was passed subsequently in order to secure and boost the supply of Medical Liquid Oxygen in India. Here are some of the highlights from the order:-
- No restrictions on the movement of Medical Oxygen between the States to be imposed. Transport authorities shall be instructed accordingly to allow free inter-state movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles.
- No restrictions to be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit their supply to only the one state or UT they are located in.
- Free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles in the cities, without any restrictions of timings.
- Supply of oxygen for industrial purposes except those exempted by the Government is prohibited till further orders
The high-level meeting, along with the order passed by the Government will hopefully allow India to properly boost its supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen in order to help COVID-19 patients across India.