Ensure adequate security to oxygen-transporting vehicles: Home Ministry writes to States, UTs

In view of the sharp rise in COVID-19 cases and resultant increasing demand of medical oxygen across the country, Union Home Minister Amit Shah has reviewed the situation and directed various measures to augment the supply of oxygen for medical purposes. Accordingly, an Expert Group is optimizing and rationalising the allocation of oxygen to various States and UTs, keeping in view the active cases and to reduce time for movement of medical oxygen.

MHA has issued an Order on ApA, under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, directing the State/ UTS to take various measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country. MHA has written to all States and UTs, today, to ensure compliance with this Order and to provide adequate security to oxygen transporting vehicles and to make provisions for exclusive corridors for such transportation, treating these vehicles like ambulances.

Central Government has prohibited supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those for few essential sectors through an order dated April 18. This has resulted in significant augmentation of the supply of medical oxygen. Steps are being taken to further reduce the consumption of industrial oxygen by industries, which will augment the supply of oxygen for medical purpose.

MHA has further written to States/ UTs, to direct District Collectors/ Deputy Commissioners to list all the plants situated in their district, in which different types of oxygen is generated, along with the installed capacity. They should also take action to revive those plants, which are lying closed. These efforts will ensure ready availability of oxygen at the district level, besides supply of medical oxygen from usual channels.

MHA is also facilitating the movement of medical oxygen across the country as per approved allocation plan. Indian Air Force has started transporting empty tankers after delivery of oxygen to destination State/ UT to oxygen-producing locations to reduce movement time. With a view to make available additional tankers for movement of oxygen, MHA is coordinating lifting of high capacity tankers from abroad, such as Singapore and UAE by Indian Air Force transport planes. Further, Ministry of Railways is running special trains carrying oxygen tankers across the country for faster movement.

MHA and the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare are in regular touch with the States and UTs for promoting optimal use of medical oxygen and undertake periodic audits to ensure there is no wastage of medical oxygen and essential medicines.

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