Centre Diverts Oxygen From Industrial Use To Boost Hospital Supply

This move is to reduce the gap of shortage of Oxygen supply and to support the 15 most high-impacted states.

2 min read
Image of oxygen pipe used for representation purpose.

The Centre on Sunday, 18 April, said it will be diverting the supply of oxygen to industries for medical use to reduce the gap of limited supply and support 15 of the most impacted states.

These states are Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Andhra Pradesh.

India has reported an unprecedented surge of COVID cases in the country, including shortage of medical oxygen, beds, plasma and other medical facilities.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had earlier tweeted the capital was facing an oxygen emergency and alleged that resources were being diverted to support other states instead.

Distribution of Industrial Oxygen Limited to 9 Industries

Medical oxygen is essential for treatment of patients who have severe COVID-19 symptoms. The rise in cases has resulted in steep demand for medical oxygen as well that various states and UT's are not able to cater to.

Oxygen levels and supply of other essential medical equipment and medicines is being closely monitored by the state. The Empowered Group-II (EG-II) headed by Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT) is mandated by the Centre to manage requisite supplies of medical equipments.

The government has also prohibited the distribution of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers. The surplus oxygen available will be diverted to meet the demands for medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients.

However, nine industries have been exempted from the prohibition – ampoules & vials, pharmaceutical, petroleum refineries, steel plants, nuclear energy facilities, oxygen cylinder manufacturers, waste water treatment plants, food & water purification and process industries that require uninterrupted operation of furnaces, as approved by respective state governments.

The Centre has communicated the same to all states and UTs and asked for them to ensure implementation and compliance of the order.

Other Initiatives By the Centre to Increase Oxygen Stock

The Centre has also started the 'Oxygen Express', an iniative by the Railway Ministry to transport liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and oxygen cylinders across the key corridors.

A route – Green Corridor – to fast-track the Oxygen Express is being created to amplify supply of bulk medical oxygen and to support patients in life-threatening situations.

The Health Ministry also announced the sanctioning of 162 pressure swing adsorption oxygen plants in public health facilities around the country. As per the ministry, “These will augment medical oxygen capacity by 154.19 MT.”

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