Check hoarding of oxygen, medicines: PM to CMs

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on April 23, 2021

An IAF aircraft loads a cryogenic oxygen tanker at the Air Force Station Hindon in Haryana to fly to Panagarh in Bengal for refilling as hospitals across the country are running short on the life-saving gas. The IAF is using its giant C-17 and IL-76 aircraft to do similar airlifts across the country. It saves crucial three days that a tanker would take to reach the refill point   -  PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi   -  PTI

Also asks States to ensure free movement of oxygen tankers

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today urged all States to check hoarding and black-marketing of oxygen and medicines.

With the Covid-19 situation showing no signs of relenting, Modi on Friday convened a meeting of Chief Ministers of 10 States and Delhi, which accounted for 75 per cent of the daily cases in the country, and called for a united fight a la the first wave last year.

He said that every State should ensure that no oxygen tanker, whether it is for another State or for itself, is stopped or gets stranded. He urged the States to set up a high-level co-ordination committee to ensure oxygen to all the hospitals in their jurisdiction. This committee should ensure that as soon as the Centre allots oxygen, it gets delivered as per the requirement of the hospitals immediately.

While assuring the States of full support of the Centre, he, however, expressed concern that the virus was affecting not just the major cities but also Tier-2/3 towns.

The meeting was attended by the Chief Ministers of Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. Also present was Delhi’s Lt Governor, Anil Baijal.

The Centre is leaving no stone unturned in its effort to continuously increase oxygen supply, Modi said adding that all Central ministries and departments are working to achieve this.

He asked the States to make testing facilities available so that people can easily get tested for Covid-19. At the same time, the administration should continuously create awareness among people so that they do not indulge in panic buying of medicines.

‘Step up oxygen output’

Later, Modi held a meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers through video conferencing. While appreciating the role played by the industry to increase production in the last few weeks, he suggested to the industry captains, including Reliance Industries CMD Mukesh Ambani, Tata Steel’s T V Narendran, and Inox’s Sidharth Jain, to find ways to step it up further.

There is also a need to increase the availability of oxygen cylinders as well as upgrade the logistics facilities for transportation, he said, adding that the industry can use tankers meant for other gases.

SC adjourns hearing

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on the national Covid management plan till Tuesday while expressing displeasure at some senior advocates who the apex court said were unfairly “imputing motives” to the judges.

On Thursday, the country’s highest court took suo motu cognisance of the grim Covid-19 situation and asked the Centre to come out with a national Covid management plan.

Published on April 23, 2021

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