The Union Home Ministry Friday sent three letters back to back to all the States and Union Territories to ensure uninterrupted transportation of the oxygen-carrying vehicles and to list and map all plants in which different types of oxygen are generated, including the ones that can be bottled in cylinders, along with the installed capacity.
In the first missive, the MHA directed all States/UTs to strictly comply with the order issued by the Union Home Secretary under the Disaster Management Act asking them to ensure an uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country.
Following the Delhi High Court’s order, the MHA has now also asked states/UTs to provide adequate security to oxygen-transporting vehicles and to make provisions for exclusive corridors for such transportation, treating these vehicles like ambulances. The order asserted that failure to comply with the order would invite contempt of court action apart from penal action.
In another letter signed by the Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, States/UTs have been asked to list and map all plants in which different types of oxygen are generated, including the ones that can be bottled in cylinders, along with the installed capacity. If the plants are closed then necessary action must be taken to for their revival.
It said these efforts would ensure ready availability of oxygen at the district level, besides supply of medical oxygen from usual channels.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah today reviewed the situation and directed various measures to augment the supply of oxygen for medical purposes.
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The government’s statement said an Expert Group is optimizing and rationalising the allocation of oxygen to various States and UTs, keeping in view the active cases and reducing time for movement of medical oxygen.
“MHA is also facilitating 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”, the government said.
It added 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, the Ministry of Railways is running special trains carrying oxygen tankers across the country for faster movement.
The article was originally published in The Leaflet.