With shortage in supplies being flagged across the country, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said that the states should take steps towards demand control and medical oxygen should be given to needy patients only.
"State governments should keep demand (for medical oxygen) under control. The demand-side management is as important as the supply-side management. Containing COVID-19 spread is the responsibility of state governments and they should fulfil this responsibility," Piyush Goyal was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"If cases continue to rise unlimitedly, then it will pose a major challenge for the healthcare infrastructure of the country. We are with state governments, but they need to manage the demand and take concrete steps to contain COVID-19 spread," he added.
Goyal told ANI in an interview that the government has taken key decisions for increasing supply of medical oxygen in view of increasing cases of COVID-19 which include limiting industrial oxygen to nine industries.He said central government did mapping in a meeting with governments of 12 states and union territories most affected by COVID-19 and 6,177 metric tonnes of oxygen will be given to these states.
The minister said the government is working with states shoulder to shoulder and urged them to take steps against wastage of medical oxygen. "We are witnessing an unprecedented crisis due to COVID-19 pandemic. In some states, the cases can be seen going beyond control, like Maharashtra Delhi, and some other states," he said.
He said that different ministries and departments of the central government are having elaborate meetings every two days with 12 states and mapping was done to identify which plant will supply oxygen to which place according to the requirement of different states "without any discrimination".
With several parts of the country witnessing a steep rise in cases, the demand for medical oxygen has increased as it is a critical component in the treatment of COVID-19-affected patients.
Meanwhile, the Centre on Sunday banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes except in nine specified industries in view of shortage of the essential public health commodity in several states amid a spike in COVID-19 infections.
The decision will come into effect from April 22. In a communication to all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that in view of the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and resultant rapid demand for medical oxygen, particularly in high-burden states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the central government-constituted Empowered Group-II has reviewed the supply of oxygen for industrial use in order to divert the same to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen in the country and save precious lives.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)