With Oxygen Express, railways and air force pressed to easy supply

PM interacts with leading oxygen manufacturers, also chairs meet with CMs of affected states

GN Bureau | April 23, 2021


#prime minister   #oxygen   #second wave   #healthcare   #Covid-19   #Narendra Modi  


Amid reports of medical oxygen shortages in many parts of the country for critical Covid-19 patients, prime minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers via video conferencing, and said this time is not only to deal with the challenges, but also to provide solutions in a very short time. He stressed the need to maintain good coordination between the government and the oxygen producers.

The PM showed appreciation for the oxygen producers who had increased their production in the last few weeks. He acknowledged the several steps taken to increase the production of liquid oxygen. Modi also thanked the industry for diverting industrial oxygen to meet medical requirements in the country.

To improve the situation further, Modi spoke about utilising the full potential of the industry to meet the demand of oxygen in the coming days. He noted that there is a need to increase the availability of oxygen cylinders as well as upgrade the logistics facilities for transportation of oxygen. He urged the industry to utilise tankers meant to transport other gases for oxygen supply.

The PM said keeping in mind the requirements of states pertaining to oxygen, the government is working on effective use of railways and air force so that the tankers reach the production centres as soon as possible.

Modi remarked that the government, the states, the industry and the transporters, and all the hospitals need to come together and work in unison. The better the synergy and coordination, the easier it will be able to deal with this challenge.

Mukesh Ambani, CMD of RIL, Soma Mandal, chairperson of SAIL, Sajjan Jindal of JSW, Narendran of Tata Steel, Naveen Jindal of JSPL, Dilip Oommen of AMNS, M Bannerjee of LINDE, Sidharth Jain of Inox, Noriyo Shibuya, MD of Air Water Jamshedpur, Rajesh Kumar Saraf of National Oxygen Ltd and Saket Tiku, President of All India Industrial Gases Manufacturer's Association, were present during the meeting.

PM chairs meeting with CMs of high-burden states

Prime minister Modi chaired a meeting on the Covid-19 situation with the chief ministers of 11 states and union territories which have reported maximum number of cases in recently. Noting that the virus is affecting several states as well as Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities at once, he called for working together to fight the pandemic with collective power. He said the biggest basis of India’s success during the first wave of the pandemic was our united efforts and united strategy and reiterated that we will have to address this challenge in the same way.

Modi assured the centre’s full support to all the states and in this fight. He added that the ministry of health is also in touch with the states and is monitoring the situation closely and issuing necessary advices to the states from time to time.

On oxygen supply, Modi took note of the points raised by the states. He said there is a continuous effort to increase oxygen supply. All the concerned departments and ministries of the government are also working together. Industrial oxygen has also been diverted to meet immediate requirements.

Modi urged all states to work together and coordinate with one another to fulfil requirements relating to medicines and oxygen. He urged the states to check hoarding and black marketing of oxygen and medicines. The PM said that every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, whether it is meant for any state, is stopped or gets stranded. He urged the states to set up a high-level co-ordination committee to carry oxygen to different hospitals of the state. This Coordination Committee should ensure that as soon as there is allotment of oxygen from the centre, it can deliver oxygen as per requirement in different hospitals of the state immediately. The PM informed the CMs that on Thursday he had chaired a meeting on oxygen supply and would be attending one today (Friday) to discuss all the options for increasing the oxygen supply.

Modi stated that the central government is working on all possible options to reduce the travel time and turnaround time of oxygen tankers. For this, Railways has started Oxygen Express. Empty oxygen tankers are also being transported by the air force to reduce one way travel time.

The PM said that along with upgrading of resources, we have to focus on testing. He emphasized that widespread testing should be conducted so that people get the facility easily.

The PM remarked that our vaccination programme should not slow down in this situation. Modi mentioned that India is running the world’s largest vaccination programme and so far, more than 15 crore vaccine doses have been provided free of cost to the states by the centre. The campaign launched by the central government to provide free vaccine to all citizens above 45 years as well has health-care workers and front-line workers, will also continue in the same manner. From May 1, the vaccine is going to be available to all citizens above 18 years of age. We will also need to work in mission mode to get more and more people vaccinated.

Modi said along with all measures for treatment of the patients, hospital safety is also very important. Expressing grief on recent incidents of oxygen leakage and fire at some hospitals, he said the administrative staff of the hospital needs to be made more aware about the safety protocols.

Modi also urged the administration to continuously make people aware so that they do not indulge in panic buying. He said that with united efforts, we will be able to stop this second wave of the pandemic across the country.
 

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