Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a “comprehensive review meeting” to ensure adequate supply of medical grade oxygen in the country amid a surge in daily cases of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19), the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement on Friday.
“Inputs from ministries like health, DPIIT (department for promotion of industry and internal trade), steel, road transport etc were also shared with the PM. PM stressed that it is important to ensure synergy across ministries & state governments,” the statement said.
“PM Modi also took a detailed review of the current situation of oxygen supply and projected use in the coming 15 days across 12 high burden states (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan). An overview of the district-level situation in these states was presented to the PM,” it added.
The statement also said that PM Modi was informed that the central government and states were in regular contact, adding that he also received a briefing on the production capacity of the country to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen.
“PM suggested increasing oxygen production as per the capacity of each plant. It was discussed that surplus stocks of oxygen supply in steel plants are being offered from medical use,” the PMO statement said.
Notably, the demand for medical oxygen has increased as it is a critical component in the treatment of COVID-19-affected patients.
The PMO said that an overview of the district-level situation in these states was presented to the prime minister, and he was also informed that the Centre and states are in regular contact and estimates for projected demand have been shared with states as of April 20, April 25 and April 30.
The PMO said, accordingly, 4,880 MT , 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been allocated to these 12 states for meeting their projected demand of medical oxygen as on April 20, April 25, and April 30, respectively.
The prime minister was briefed about production capacity in the country to meet the rising demand, it said. He suggested increasing oxygen production as per the capacity of each plant.
It was discussed that surplus stocks of oxygen supply in steel plants are being offered for medical use, the PMO said. The prime minister also asked officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country.
Prime Minister Modi urged officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country. The government, the statement said, has exempted all interstate movement of oxygen tankers from registration of permits to enable easier movement of the vehicles.
“The government is allowing Industrial cylinders to be used for medical oxygen after due purging. Similarly, nitrogen and argon tankers will be automatically allowed to be converted to oxygen tankers to overcome the potential shortage of tankers,” it added.
In the last two days, India has seen record new Covid-19 cases, crossing 200,000 mark on each day. The Union ministry of health and family welfare (MoHFW) said on Friday morning that 217,353 Covid-10 cases were detected in the last 24 hours, the country’s highest single-day rise, taking the infection tally to 14,291,917. There were 1185 related fatalities as well, which have pushed the death toll to 173,123.