New Delhi, Sep 19 (IANS) The Union Ministry of Home Affairs on Friday said that medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any disruption in its supplies may critically impact management of Covid-19 patients as it stressed that “no restriction” be imposed on its movement between the states.
It also clarified that there are no restrictions on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the supply only to the hospitals of the state in which they are located.
In a letter to the Chief Secretaries of all states and Union Territories, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said: “As you are aware, availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important prerequisite for managing moderate and severe cases of Covid-19. With the increasing number of active cases of Covid-19, the consumption of oxygen is also expected to increase.”
He said that it has, however, come to notice that some states are trying to “curb” the “inter-state movement” of oxygen supplies from manufacturing units situated in their respective states by exercising provisions under the Epidemic Disease Act, the Disaster Management Act, the Essential Commodities Act and also mandating the manufacturers or suppliers located in the state to restrict their oxygen supplies to the hospitals of the state.
“It is emphasised that medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supplies of medical oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from Covid-19 in other parts of the country.
“Therefore, no such restrictions is imposed on the the movement of medical oxygen between the states and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles.”
Bhalla also said that no restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to the hospitals of the state in which they are located and there shall be free movement of oxygen carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without restriction.
The Home Secretary also urged the states and Union Territories may constitute multi-disciplinary teams, comprising representatives of the Health, Industry, Transport and other related Departments to continuously monitor the availability of medical oxygen in their respective jurisdiction, and that any shortfalls or related problems should be immediately brought to the notice of the central control room that has been established in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.