New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) The Indian Air Force on Saturday brought four cryogenic tanks, to be used for transporting oxygen, from Singapore as the country scrambles to meet the spike in demand for medical oxygen amid a surge in COVID-19 infections.
The containers were airlifted from Singapore by C17 heavy-lift aircraft of the IAF.
The aircraft 'with 4 cryogenic containers for storage of liquid O2 from Singapore landed at Panagarh air base' in West Bengal at around 4.30 pm, a home ministry spokesperson tweeted.
Later, a home ministry official said the tankers have moved out of the Panagarh air base and will fill up oxygen in eastern India.
'Then they will go to the state concerned according to allotment made by the government. The vendor will decide where they will go after filling up. The government has provided logistics for bringing the tankers to the vendor,' he said.
It is a commercial agreement between two private entities in India and Singapore. The government has not paid for the containers. It has, however, facilitated the process of bringing them, an official said.
The C-17 aircraft of the IAF took off from the Hindon airbase on the outskirts of Delhi for Singapore's Changi airport early on Saturday morning to bring these tankers.
India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 3,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds.
Since Friday, the IAF has been airlifting empty oxygen tankers and containers to various filling stations across the country to speed up the distribution of the much-needed medical oxygen in treating COVID-19 patients.
The IAF was also transporting essential medicines as well as equipment required by the designated COVID-19 hospitals in various parts of the country.
'The Indian Air Force is taking sorties to reduce the transportation time of Oxygen and other critical supplies. One C-17 has reached Changi airport in Singapore today. These containers of cryogenic oxygen tanks will help boosting the oxygen supply in the country,' Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's office tweeted earlier.
On Friday, the Union Home Ministry said it was in talks for the import of high-capacity oxygen-carrying tankers from Singapore and the UAE.
The move came after Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the coronavirus situation in the country. PTI ACB MPB SKL SMN SMN