Maharashtra Chief Secretary Sitaram Kunte on Friday said the oxygen tankers in the state have been given the status of an ambulance. He said this was done so that no one can stop the transport of oxygen tankers in the state. Besides, the District Disaster Management Authority has been instructed to transport the tankers under police protection and not to divert them in any way, he added.
This comes after the first Oxygen Express carrying seven tankers filled with liquid medical oxygen from Visakhapatnam reached Maharashtra. The train arrived at Nagpur at 8.10 pm on Friday, bringing some relief to the state which is reeling under a surge in coronavirus cases and shortages of medical oxygen. Three of the seven tankers will be unloaded at Nagpur station and remaining will be unloaded at Nashik Road station.
The Chief Secretary also reviewed the available oxygen in the state and directed the administration to set up storage facilities for the oxygen being brought from other places. Moreover, he also directed to install oxygen concentrators in all districts to reduce dependence on cylinders and liquid oxygen. He also said that the district collectors should set up an oxygen plant based on PSA technology.
Meanwhile, in the wake of the death of 14 COVID-19 patients in a fire at a hospital in Virar on Friday and the death of 24 COVID-19 patients due to leak in an oxygen tank at a hospital in Nashik on Wednesday, Kunte has instructed the district administrations to conduct fire audit as well as oxygen audit.