Amid concerns over the medical oxygen crunch in the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today took a comprehensive review of available stock and asked officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen. He also took stock of inputs received from ministries like health, DPIIT, steel, and road transport on boosting production of medical grade oxygen in the country.
Taking a review of the current situation of oxygen supply and projected use in the next 15 days across 12 high-burden states, including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi, the Prime Minister also assessed the data on allocated oxygen to these states.
As per officials, the estimates for projected demand of medical grade oxygen on 20th April, 25th April and 30th April have been shared with states. Around 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been allocated to 12 most affected states for meeting their oxygen demand.
Prime Minister Modi was also briefed about India's production capacity and how it can be enhanced to meet the rising demand. Modi told officials to increase oxygen production as per the capacity of each plant and offer the surplus stock in steel plants for medical use.
The central government has exempted all interstate movement of oxygen tankers from registration of permits to enable easier movement. States and transporters have been asked to ensure tankers move round the clock with drivers working in shifts to ensure faster turnaround and adequate capacity to meet the surge in demand.
As per the government, cylinder filling plants will also be permitted 24 hours working with necessary safeguards. It is also allowing industrial cylinders to be used for medical oxygen after due purging. Similarly, nitrogen and argon tankers will be automatically allowed to be converted to oxygen tankers to overcome the potential shortage of tankers.