Ensure smooth supply of medical oxygen: Centre to states

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New Delhi: The Union government on Monday asked the states and union territories to ensure adequate supply of medical oxygen as it is a critical need in the wake of coronavirus pandemic.

In a letter to chief secretaries of all states and UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said special attention should be given to ensure smooth supply of essential commodities and medical oxygen during the lockdown.

“There is a critical need to maintain adequate supply of medical oxygen in the country in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic and as medical oxygen is also included in the national list and WHO’s list of essential medicines,” he said.

Bhalla also reiterated the exemptions made under the guidelines on lockdown measures.

All manufacturing units of medical oxygen gas/liquid, medical oxygen cylinders, cryogenic tanks for storing liquid oxygen, liquid cryogenic cylinders, liquid oxygen cryogenic transport tanks, ambient vaporisers and cryogenic valves, cylinder valves and accessories are exempted, he said.

The home secretary asked the state and UT officials to take action for the transportation of these items, travel of workers of such units from their homes to factories, so that such units run at full capacity.

In the communication to all states on April 3, detailed guidelines have been issued for smooth functioning of supply chain of exempted items, involving inter-state movement of employees, he said.

In his communication, Bhalla emphasised that social distancing and proper hygiene practices must be ensured in each of the above activities.

It will be the responsibility of the head of the organisation to ensure compliance of norms.

The district authorities have been asked to ensure strict enforcement.

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