Centre asks states, UTs to ensure uninterrupted movement of medical oxygen
New Delhi/IBNS: The Centre has asked the state governments to ensure uninterrupted passage of vehicles carrying medical oxygen along their borders and to not impose any curbs on the production of the life-saving gas, amid massive rise in Coronavirus cases and reports of oxygen shortage across the country.
In a letter, Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla pointed out to all the chief secretaries of states and union territories that there are no restrictions on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods in the guidelines issued on March 23, 2021.
“It is emphasised that Medical Oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supplies of Medical Oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country,” he added.
"Therefore, you are requested to ensure that no such restriction is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states and UTs, and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles," the letter said.
"No restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to the hospitals of the state in which they are located,” he said.
"There shall be free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without restriction; and the supply plan as referred in para four above should strictly be adhered to by all the states/UTs,” he added.
The Union Home Secretary noted that many states and UTs have clamped additional restrictions on certain activities and curfews, etc in order to break the chain of coronavirus transmission.
“As you are aware, availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of Medical Oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19. With increasing cases, the medical oxygen supplies will need to keep pace with the requirements of the states. Keeping in view the requisition of Medical Oxygen and to ensure its smooth supplies to concerned agencies, Empowered Group-II, which is mandated for coordinating medical logistics including oxygen, has prepared a supply plan that is required to be followed by all states/UTs and concerned agencies,” Bhalla told the states.
On Thursday the Centre said at least a dozen states are most likely to need oxygen desperately.
By April 30, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu,Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Rajasthan and Haryana are to be given more than 17,000 metric tonnes
Oxygen plants will be set up in 100 new hospitals, the Centre said in that same order
The government has also decided to import around 50,000 metric tonnes and permit industrial-purpose oxygen to fill the shortfall.