Home Minister Amit Shah in a high-level review streamlined last-mile connectivity for transportation of oxygen and asked states to make provisions for exclusive corridors to ferry them amid the COVID-19 crisis.
In a strongly worded letter, the Home Secretary asked states to treat transport carrying oxygen as ambulances.
“Instances have been reported in some districts from different states and wherein oxygen carrying vehicles have been stopped. Such instances are not only violation of MHA order and also inhibit timely supply of medical oxygen to the allocated states/UT and in turn affect treatment of Covid patients,” the letter said.
The states and Union Territories have been directed to increase production and supply of oxygen for medical purposes and revive old plants.
“I would request district collectors and deputy commissioners to map all oxygen generating facilities including the ones which can be bottled in cylinders along with installed capacity,” the Home Secretary wrote in the letter marked to administrators of Union Territories.
“Oxygen generating plants are available in many districts of the country, not necessarily for medical purposes. These facilities can be used for supplying oxygen to local hospitals,” adds the letter.
In view of rising Covid cases and constrains on supply of oxygen, districts and cities have been advised for rationalised usage. “Immediate actions should be taken on suggestions and a status report relating it should be submitted to the ministry,” the letter said, adding efforts made by all will go a long way in easing the supply of oxygen.
The Home Ministry is also procuring additional tankers from abroad for movement of oxygen. “Indian Air Force transport planes are lifting high-capacity tankers from Singapore and the UAE as many states flagged issues relating to last-mile connectivity,” an officer said.
According to him, the Home Ministry is helping in movement of medical oxygen across the country as per the approved allocation plant. “IAF has started transporting empty tankers after delivery of oxygen to destination state and UT to oxygen producing locations to reduce movement time,” he added.