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Ensure free movement of vehicles carrying medical oxygen: Centre to states

Vivek Dubey     April 16, 2021

The Centre on Friday asked states to ensure uninterrupted movement of medical oxygen-carrying vehicles along their borders and to not impose any curbs on production and supply of the essential public health commodity.

In a letter to chief secretaries of states and union territories (UTs), Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said there is no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods as announced in the guidelines on March 23, 2021.

"Availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important prerequisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 and with rising cases, medical-grade oxygen supplies are needed to keep up with the requirements of the states," Bhalla said.

Medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in its supply in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country, Bhalla added.

"Therefore, you are requested to ensure that no such restriction is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states and UTs, and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles," the letter said.

Bhalla said no curb should be imposed on manufacturers and suppliers of oxygen to limit the supplies only to the hospitals of the state in which they are located, and there shall be free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles into the cities without any timing restriction.

Amidst a surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, there have been reports of shortage of medical oxygen for coronavirus patients in the country. Earlier today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for ramping up production of medical-grade oxygen after a comprehensive review to ensure adequate supply in the country.

India is reeling under a second wave of coronavirus cases. The country reported 2,17,353 new COVID-19 cases in the preceding 24 hours as of Friday morning.

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