Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting to review the oxygen supply across India and discussed the ways to boost its availability, according to an official statement.
The meeting, which was attended by principal secretary to the Indian PM PK Mishra, health secretary Rajesh Bhushan, home secretary Ajay Bhalla and officials of Niti Aayog and other ministries, comes in the backdrop of states and Union territories reporting severe shortage of oxygen amid the spiking cases and deaths of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
During the meeting, Modi highlighted the importance to work rapidly on three aspects which are- increasing the production of oxygen, increasing its speed and distribution and utilising innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities, the statement said.
The officials told the Indian Prime Minister an elaborate exercise is being carried out in co-ordination with states in order to identify their demands of the gas and ensure supplies accordingly and how these supplies were steadily increasing.
"Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT/ day of Liquid Medical Oxygen, Government of India has from 21st April, allocated 6,822 MT/ day to these states," the statement added.
Modi also ordered the officials to make sure the oxygen supply to states happens in a smooth manner and there is a need to to fix responsibility with the local administration in the case of obstruction. He stressed the fact that state governments should come down heavily on hoarding of oxygen.
The Centre is undertaking various steps to rapidly increase the availability of cyrogenic tankers through conversion of nitrogen and argon tankers, import and airlifting of tankers as well as manufacturing them, the statement said.