Union Government’s Guidelines to States On Oxygen Supply
With burgeoning covid-19 cases amid a severe second wave, almost all the states of India are witnessing a severe shortage of medical oxygen resulting into deaths of patients- around 44 in Delhi alone in 2 days.
Delhi and Madras High Courts have demanded that Union Govt fulfill the demand of oxygen. Various states like Tamil Nadu, Delhi , Haryana are fighting with each other to gather the precious little amount of oxygen being produced in their states.
Source: Hindustan times
This has prompted Union Government to issue guidelines on the supply of liquid medical oxygen which are discussed below.
Directions by the Union Government
- During the meeting held by PM Modi, it was informed that the states have been asked to specify their demand for oxygen so that adequate supply can be ensured.
- Prime Minister directed that oxygen supply to various states should be unhindered and local administrations like DM and SSP of the districts be held responsible for instances of obstruction.
- The Central Government has reviewed the oxygen supply situation and has decided that with immediate effect, use of liquid oxygen, including the existing stock, will be allowed for medical purposes only, and that all manufacturing units may be allowed to maximise their production of liquid oxygen, and make it available to the Government, for use for medical purposes only.
- Invoking the Disaster Management Act, the order directed states and Union Territories to ensure that use of liquid oxygen is not allowed for any non-medical purpose.
- All stocks of liquid oxygen should also be made available to the Government for use for medical purposes. No exception is allowed to any industry with regard to use of liquid oxygen.
- Union home secretary issued an order which said “No restriction shall be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles.” The instruction followed reports that the Haryana and Uttar Pradesh administrations were preventing the movement of oxygen tankers to Delhi.
- Besides, states and union territories would have to abide by the supply plan of medical oxygen prepared by the empowered group (EG) II.
Other steps taken by India to tackle this emergency
- India has floated a global tender for procuring 50,000 tonnes of oxygen.
- The first imports would be coming from Singapore, China and the Gulf countries since they are the nearest geographically, the official added.
- The immediate concern, however, is the availability of empty cryogenic tankers, especially for imports from China. These tankers, which maintain a temperature of minus 183 degree Celsius, would be transported by sea to India.
- Union government has stepped in to prevent states from hindering the movement of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) to other states.
- Additionally, the Indian Air Force (IAF) airlifted empty oxygen tankers and took them to industrial units that have switched to producing medical grade oxygen.
- As against the current demand of 6,785 tonnes per day (tpa) of LMO from 20 states, the Centre has allocated 6,822 tpa as of April 21, according to a government press release issued after the meeting.
- In the last few days, the availability of LMO has increased by about 3,300 tpa, with contributions from private and public steel plants, oxygen manufacturers, other industries, as well as by prohibiting the supply of oxygen to non-essential industry.
- To speed up oxygen delivery, trains have also been pressed into service to ferry tankers. On April 23, the first rake from Visakhapatnam travelled with 105 MT LMO to Nagpur, offloaded three tankers, and sped to Nashik to supply four tankers on Saturday.
- A similar movement of tankers took place from Bokaro in Jharkhand to Uttar Pradesh.
- A 270km Lucknow to Varanasi 'green corridor', where trains carrying oxygen tankers have first right of way, was created earlier.
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