No Curb on Movement of Medical Oxygen Between States: MHA
The MHA also said that oxygen supply cannot be limited to any particular state.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, in an order dated Thursday, 22 April, said that no restriction shall be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states, and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen.
This comes in the backdrop of a sharp surge in COVID-19 cases in the country, and an acute paucity of life-saving oxygen being reported by multiple states and several hospitals.
In a bid to ensure uninterrupted supply of oxygen across the country, the Home Ministry laid down the following measures in its order:
- No restriction shall be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between states, and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles.
- No restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit their oxygen supplies only to the state/union territory in which they are located.
- There shall be free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles into cities, without any restrictions on timings, and there shall be no restriction on inter-city oxygen supply.
- No authority shall attach the oxygen-carrying vehicles passing through the district or areas for making supplies specific to any particular district(s) or area.
- Supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the government is prohibited with efffect from 22 April 2021 and till further orders.
- States/UTs shall strictly abide by the supply plan of medical oxygen prepared by EG II and as revised from time-to-time.
The order further noted that District Magistrates, Deputy Commissioners, Senior Superintendents of Police, Superintendents of Police and Deputy Commissioners of Police will be personally liable for implementation of the listed measures.
‘Ensure MHA Order is Implemented’: Delhi HC
In an urgent hearing, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday, had directed the Central government to ensure the supply of medical oxygen by “whatever means required”.
The High Court resumed its hearing on the petitions related to the shortage on Thursday, and spoke on the Home Ministry’s order, “You’ve passed the order, please see that it’s implemented... If government wants they can make heaven and earth meet.”
Max Healthcare on Wednesday had filed a frantic plea citing an acute shortage of oxygen, and informed the court that it currently has only three hours of oxygen and if the oxygen runs outs, the lives of 400 patients, out of which 262 are COVID patients, are under threat.
Delhi Chokes Amid Oxygen Crisis
Oxygen supply woes continues for the third straight day as hospitals across the capital gasp for the life-saving gas, restricted by its neighbours — Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.
Several major hospitals in Delhi, like Max, Apollo, Sri Ganga Ram and Fortis, which depend on oxygen suppliers from the neighbouring states, have been issuing SOS calls saying they only have a few hours of oxygen supplies left.
On Thursday, Deputy CM Manish Sisodia said in a live press conference: “Major reason behind Delhi's oxygen crisis is 'jungle raj' for oxygen by Haryana-UP. Their governments, officers, and police aren't letting supply from their oxygen plants come to Delhi. Our officers spoke to theirs, I tried to speak to GOI but things aren't changing on ground.”
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