Need to work rapidly to boost oxygen production: PM Modi

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review the oxygen supply across the country and discuss ways and means to boost its availability.

He 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.

The officials briefed the Prime Minister on the efforts undertaken in the last few weeks to improve the supply of oxygen. There has been an increase in demand of oxygen due to a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country in the second wave of pandemic.

According to an official release, the Prime Minister 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.

He was briefed on how oxygen supply to states is steadily increasing.

It was noted that in the last few days, availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) has been increased by about 3,300 MT per 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.

Officers informed the Prime Minister that they are working together with the states to operationalize the sanctioned PSA oxygen plants as soon as possible.

PM Modi asked the officials to ensure that oxygen supply to various states happens 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 and supply of oxygen.

The release said that 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.

PM Modi 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.

PM Modi 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 some other senior officials.

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