At high level meet, PM asks states to improve oxygen supply, stop hoarding

at 5:09 pm
Prime Minister Narendra Modi

New Delhi (NVI): Amid reports on shortage of medical oxygen for Covid-19 patients in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today held a high-level review meeting on oxygen supply and availability and asked states to come down heavily on the hoarding of oxygen.

During the meeting, attended by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Home Secretary and Health Secretary, PM Modi discussed ways and means to boost the availability of oxygen. The officials briefed him on the efforts undertaken in the last few weeks to improve the supply of oxygen, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.

The meeting comes on a day when India recorded world’s biggest daily spike, with 3.14 lakh fresh Covid cases.

PM spoke about the need to work rapidly on multiple aspects: increasing production of oxygen, increasing the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities.

PM was informed that an elaborate exercise is being done in co-ordination with the states to identify their demand for oxygen and ensure adequate supply accordingly. PM was briefed on how oxygen supply to states is steadily increasing. Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT/day of Liquid Medical Oxygen, Government of India has from 21st April, allocated 6,822 MT/day to these states, PMO said.

At the meeting, it was noted that in the last few days, availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen has been increased by about 3,300 MT/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, as per the official statement.

PM 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. He also asked ministries to explore various innovative ways to increase production & supply of oxygen.

Various measures are being undertaken to rapidly increase the availability of cyrogenic tankers through conversion of nitrogen and argon tankers, import and airlifting of tankers as well as manufacturing them, as per the PMO statement.

PM also stressed on the need to ensure faster transportation of oxygen to the states. It was discussed that Railways is being used for rapid and non-stop long distance transport of tankers. First rake has reached from Mumbai to Vizag to transport 105 MT of LMO.

Similarly, empty oxygen tankers are also being air-lifted to oxygen suppliers to reduce one way journey time in oxygen supply.

Representatives from the medical community also spoke about the need for judicious use of oxygen and how an audit in some states has decreased oxygen demand without affecting the condition of patients.

Officials from Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Minstry of Road Transport, Pharmaceuticals, NiTi Aayog were also present at the high-level meeting.