The Indian government on Thursday said there will be no restriction on the movement of medical oxygen, and that supply can't be limited to any particular state.
It also banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes till further orders are issued, reports the NDTV.
Following the government of Delhi's complaint about Uttar Pradesh and Haryana stopping their supply of oxygen amid a raging second wave of Covid-19 and severely depleted stocks, the Union Home Ministry today issued an order allowing the free inter-state movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles.
"No restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to hospitals of the state or Union Territory in which they are located," the order read.
"Supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the government, is prohibited with effect from 22nd April, 2021, and till further orders," it said.
The Indian Home Ministry's order is based on the premise that the guidelines issued earlier under the Disaster Management Act for the effective control of Covid-19 do not mandate restrictions on the inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods.
Over the past many weeks, the second wave of Covid-19 has had a devastating effect across the country - on Thursday, India reported 3,14,835 new infections, the world's highest daily figure, and a record 2,104 deaths in 24 hours.
This has resulted in medical resources like oxygen, beds, and ventilators going into severe short supply. Some of the biggest hospitals in Delhi, for instance, have in the past few days managed with merely hours' worth of oxygen, putting pressure on suppliers and manufacturers.
This has also led to states like Delhi, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh accusing each other of blocking supplies and diverting supplies to hospitals and medical facilities in their own jurisdiction.