COVID-19: After Maha govt plea, Railways develops policy to transport liquid medical oxygen

·2-min read

New Delhi, Apr 17 (PTI) The Railways has formulated a policy for the transportation of liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic tankers after a plea by the government of Maharashtra, one of the worst affected states by the coronavirus, to combat the pandemic.

The policy, made public late Friday night, said the cryogenic tankers will be transported as a paid-for roll-on-roll (Ro-Ro) service to various destinations across states.

The circular said Maharashtra's health secretary had requested for the transport of medical oxygen in cryogenic containers.

'The matter has been examined. Competent authority has approved the transport of liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic containers,' it said and detailing the charges to be levied for the service.

The circular said the staff accompanying liquid oxygen trucks to be loaded on the Ro-Ro service will be charged second class ticket for the journey and only two persons will be allowed to accompany the truck.

The empty flow direction of the containers will also be charged by the railways Maharashtra is among states worst-affected states by the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had said there was a shortage of medical oxygen in the state and had sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi's support for addressing the issue.

Amid a steep rise in coronavirus cases, the prime minister on Friday undertook a comprehensive review to ensure adequate medical grade oxygen supply in the country and called for ramping up its production.

With cases hitting a new peak in several parts of the country, the demand for medical oxygen has increased as it is a critical component in the treatment of COVID-19-affected patients.

A record single-day rise of 2,34,692 cases and 1,341 fatalities pushed India's COVID-19 tally to 1,45,26,609 and the death toll due to the viral disease to 1,75,649, the health ministry said on Saturday.

The number of active coronavirus cases in the country has surpassed the 16-lakh mark, the ministry's data updated at 8 am showed. PTI ASG TIR AQS AQS