Odisha invokes ESMA to ensure hassle-free medical oxygen supply

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Bhubaneswar, Apr 28 (PTI) In an effort to ensure smooth supply of medical oxygen to hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients across the country, the Odisha government on Wednesday imposed the Essential Services (Maintenance) Act, 1988, prohibiting possible strikes by service providers.

The Home Department in an order said, it will remain in force for six months, an official said.

'In the interest of public, it is necessary to prohibit strikes in the services of manufacturing, filling and transportation /distribution of liquid medical oxygen during the current COVID-19 pandemic situation for the purpose of ensuring smooth manufacture, filling and transportation / distribution of liquid medical oxygen in the state of Odisha and to avoid any hindrance/dislocation in such services,' the order said.

At least 112 tankers containing 2,112 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen have been sent to eight states from Odisha so far, ADG (law and order) of Odisha Police YK Jethwa said.

Odisha's response came soon after Chief MInister Naveen Patnaik had spoken to Prime Minister Narenra Modi and some of his counterparts and offered them help.

Odisha has been sending cryogenic oxygen tankers to neighbouring Andhra Pradesh (38), Telangana (27), Tamil Nadu (2), Haryana (8), Maharashtra (6), Madhya Pradesh (17), Chhattisgarh (5), and Uttar Pradesh (9) as these states are grappling with acute shortage of the gas for the treatment of coronavirus patients, Jethwa, who is supervising the supply, said.

The highest number of 47 oxygen tankers have been moved from Rourkela, followed by Jajpur (33), Angul (18), and Dhenkanal (14), the official said.

Jethwa said, arrangements have been made to fill empty cylinders and a special corridor has been formed for the smooth movement of the oxygen tankers.

Meanwhile, East Coast Railway (ECoR) said that Oxygen Express trains have so far transported 510 MT of oxygen to Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Delhi, and Madhya Pradesh.

The Haryana government has also requested the Railways for Oxygen Express trains.

Currently, tankers are being loaded in Faridabad, which will be sent for filling to Rourkela.

As of now, it is being planned that two Oxygen Express trains with five tankers each will be run specifically for Haryana, an official of the ECoR said.

Madhya Pradesh received its first Oxygen Express carrying more than 64 MT of liquid medical oxygen on Wednesday morning.

These tankers were unloaded at various locations in Madhya Pradesh like Jabalpur (1 tanker), Bhopal (2 tankers), and Sagar (3 tankers), officials said. PTI COR AAM MM MM