While lauding oxygen producers for increasing production in the past few weeks, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged the government, states, industry, transporters and hospitals to come together and work in unison.
In a meeting with the chief ministers of 11 states and union territories, he said the main reason for India’s success during the first wave of the pandemic was “our united efforts and united strategy”. PM Modi reiterated that they should address this challenge in the same way. He assured the Centre’s full support to all the states in this fight.
The prime minister said there was a continuous effort to increase oxygen supply and urged the respective states to work together and coordinate with one another to fulfil requirements relating to medicines and oxygen. He called on states to check hoarding and black-marketing of oxygen and medicines. PM Modi said every state should ensure that no oxygen tanker, whether it is meant for any state, is stopped or gets stranded.
The Chief Ministers of Delhi and Maharashtra drew attention to the demand of medical oxygen. Uddhav Thackeray, Maharashtra Chief Minister, said the state needed higher quantity of oxygen, with daily oxygen requirement being 1,550 tonnes, of which 300-350 tonnes was being brought in from other states. He requested for an additional 240-300 tonnes to be made available. Rajesh Tope, Maharashtra Health Minister, pointed out that the PM had suggested carrying out an audit of oxygen consumption and avoiding wastage. “Hospitals should be asked to use non-invasive ventilators instead of high flow nasal cannulas to reduce oxygen consumption,” he said.
Many large manufacturers, including steel producers, have been supplying liquid medical oxygen to several states and medical facilities to meet the growing demand. The Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has been increasing the production of medical oxygen since the beginning of April. According to a statement, the company has supplied on an average, 660 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) per day from its plants. All the company plants have been advised to maximize production of LMO and optimize dispatch logistics so as to reduce turnaround time of oxygen tankers.