India's battle with COVID-19 with each passing day is worseining due to the lack of oxygen supply in many parts of the country. Owing to such a crisis situation, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a high-level virtual meeting to review oxygen supply across the country and discuss ways, means to boost its availability. In the meeting, officials briefed him on efforts undertaken in last few weeks to improve oxygen supply.
According to PMO, PM Modi spoke about the need to work rapidly on multiple aspects like increasing oxygen production, increasing speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities. The officials informed him that exercise is being done in coordination with states to identify their demand for O2 and ensure adequate supply. Against present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT/day of Liquid Medical Oxygen, the government of India, from April 21, has allocated 6,822 MT/day to these states.
Besides, it was noted that in last few days, availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen has increased by 3,300 MT/day with contributions from private and public steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of O2 supply for non-essential industries. Officers informed PM that they're working together with states to operationalize sanctioned PSA oxygen plants as soon as possible. PM directed officials to ensure that O2 supply to states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner.
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.
The PM 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. He also stressed that the states should come down heavily on hoarding.
The meeting was attended by Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Home Secretary, Health Secretary and Officials from Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Minstry of Road Transport, Pharmaceuticals, NiTi Aayog.