Kerala

Hoarding of medical oxygen made an offence

Hoarding of medical oxygen cylinders, black marketing and profiteering through illegal ways, non-disclosure of stock of oxygen, and holding on to industrial cylinders have been made offences under the Disaster Management Act, 2005; Kerala Epidemic Diseases Ordinance, 2020; and other relevant provisions in law. The Chief Secretary has issued orders in this regard. The move is aimed at preventing death due to lack of medical oxygen during the COVID-19 surge.

District disaster management authority (DDMA); police; Department of Industries and Health; and Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) can initiate steps against those violating the directive.

To remove bottlenecks in availability of medical oxygen, a series of steps have been initiated by the government. Medical oxygen should not be hoarded so that the cycle of filling-use-refilling can be ensured to support patients. No artificial scarcity should be created through hoarding or other illegal means by any entity dealing with such cylinders.

Black marketing or unaccounted sale, profiteering by hiking the price at times of scarcity and other unethical practices while dealing with life- saving medical oxygen or cylinder have been prohibited.

Cylinder conversion

Conversion of industrial oxygen cylinders and non-toxic and non-flammable gas cylinders (nitrogen, helium, and argon) to medical oxygen cylinders will have to be done following the standard operating procedure (SOP) approved by PESO.

Those holding industrial cylinders should hand them over to the District Collector. The DDMAs have been given powers to collect/seize industrial cylinders convert and use them for medical purpose.

All persons and entities in the supply chain and end users have been asked to report the stock of oxygen to the authorities. An executive magistrate will be posted by the District Collectors in all major medical oxygen storage facilities and filling stations to monitor the supply and distribution of oxygen from these facilities.

As per schedule

Oxygen stocks will be transported from storage facilities to districts via tankers as per the schedule approved by the Special Officer. A green corridor will be created for quick transportation of oxygen tankers and vehicles carrying oxygen cylinders.


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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 1:35:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/hoarding-of-medical-oxygen-made-an-offence/article34499830.ece

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