22 Apr 2021: Government issues order for unrestricted movement of oxygen tankers
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Thursday passed an order that transportation of oxygen tankers must remain unhindered, at a time when healthcare infrastructure has been overburdened due to the surging coronavirus cases.
The government underlined that no one can limit the supply of oxygen to one particular state.
Senior officials like DMs, DCPs, and SPs will be responsible for implementing the order.
Information: In a lengthy order, MHA issued clear instructions
In the two-page order, MHA explained that the decision was taken due to the spike in coronavirus cases. The order was signed by Union Home Secretary.
"No restriction shall be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the state and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles," one of the seven points read.
Details: 'There shall be free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles into cities'
The order underlined that no curbs limiting oxygen supplies to the hospitals of the state/UT in which they are located can be passed.
"There shall be free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without restriction," the directive read.
The supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the government, has been stopped.
Fact: Here is the complete order
Meeting: PM Modi also chaired a high-level meeting today
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also chaired a high-level meeting to review oxygen supply and discussed ways to boost production.
"PM spoke about the need to work rapidly on multiple aspects: increasing oxygen production, increasing speed of distribution, and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities," his office revealed.
He also gave directions that oxygen should be supplied smoothly.
Looking back: Earlier, minister claimed Haryana is being 'forced' to help Delhi
Notably, oxygen supply and the shortage faced by hospitals are derailing India's battle against the crushing second wave of COVID-19.
Yesterday, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij had declared that his state would first meet the demands of its patients before giving oxygen to Delhi.
Uttar Pradesh had also approached the Centre, complaining that Delhi is getting a lion's share of oxygen.
What happened: Senior doctor broke down while speaking on oxygen shortage
As is evident, the row between states has left hospitals struggling. Several hospitals in National Capital Delhi have raised an SOS that they have stocks for just a few hours.
Today, Sunil Saggar, CEO, Shanti Mukand Hospital, broke down while speaking about oxygen shortage.
"We're hardly left with any oxygen. We've requested doctors to discharge patients, whoever can be discharged" he told ANI.
Fact: 'It may last for two hours or something'
Crisis: Kailash Hospital has stopped admitting new patients
The scenes were similarly grim in neighboring Noida.
Officials of Kailash Hospital, one of the most notable medical facilities in the city, said it has stocks that would last a few hours.
"We've 4 hospitals in Gautam Buddh Nagar. We've been told we'll receive supply after the next 36 hrs. We've stopped admissions," said Group Medical Director, Dr. Ritu Bohra.