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Centre bars use of liquid oxygen for non-medical purposes

Police personnel escort a truck carrying medical liquid oxygen at the Guru Nanak Dev hospital amid COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic in Amritsar on April 24, 2021.   | Photo Credit: AFP

Invoking the Disaster Management Act on Sunday, the Centre ordered States that all liquid oxygen, including the existing stock with private plants shall be made available to the government and will be used for medical purposes only.

Earlier on April 18, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had written to States prohibiting supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except for exempted nine industries that include the pharmaceutical, petroleum, nuclear energy and the steel sectors.

The order by Union Home Secretary who is the Chairman of the National Executive Committee under the DM Act, 2005 said, “the Central Government has reviewed the oxygen supply situation and has decided that with immediate effect, use of liquid oxygen, including the existing stock, will be allowed for medical purposes only, and that all manufacturing units may be allowed to maximise their production of liquid oxygen, and make it available to the Government, for use for medical purposes only.”

The order said that under section 10(2)(I) and section 65 of the DM Act, States had to ensure that “liquid oxygen is not allowed for any non medical purpose” and all stocks to be made available to the government without any exception to any industry to use liquid oxygen.

Also read: Indian Railways offer sops for ‘Oxygen Express’

 

On April 22, Centre issued order under the DM Act Thursday making the district magistrates and senior superintendent of police personally liable to allow unhindered inter-State movement of vehicles carrying medical oxygen and to ensure that the supply is not restricted to a particular State where the oxygen plant is located.

Medical oxygen to States are being provided as per daily quota decided by an empowered group of officers in central ministries.

Also read: Oxygen Express with 70 tonnes of oxygen to reach Delhi by Monday night: Railways

 

Despite MHA’s orders and letters, States continued to flag shortage of oxygen supply with hospitals in Delhi using social media to send distress messages.

On Friday, steel industrialist Naveen Jindal tweeted that a tanker carrying 16 MT of liquid medical oxygen dispatched from its Raigarh plant in Chattisgarh had reached Batra hospital in Delhi. Batra hospital that is treating COVID-19 patients had said in a statement that they were running low on oxygen that could last only few hours.


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Printable version | Oct 17, 2021 5:19:42 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-bars-use-of-liquid-oxygen-for-non-medical-purposes/article34408253.ece

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