Ensure liquid oxygen not used for any non-medical purpose: Centre to states
The Centre on Sunday directed states and Union territories to ensure that use of liquid oxygen is not allowed for any non-medical purpose and all manufacturing units must maximise their production to make it available for medical use only with “immediate effect until further orders.” There will be no exception for any industry, according to the order issued by the ministry of home affairs.
Even the existing stock of liquid oxygen will also be diverted for medical purposes, the Centre ordered.
This the government’s latest measure to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country as several states have reported a shortage of the gas to treat critically ill coronavirus disease patients amid rising deaths.
“The Central Government has reviewed the oxygen supply situation and has decided that with immediate effect, use of liquid oxygen, including the existing stock, will be allowed for medical purposes only, and that all manufacturing units may be allowed to maximise their production of liquid oxygen, and make it available to the Government, for use for medical purposes only,” the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) letter to the states said.
It added that “no exception is allowed to any industry with regard to use of liquid oxygen”.
The ministry said it was considered necessary to restrict industrial usage of oxygen for ensuring availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country for management of Covid-19 patients and necessary order in this regard was issued on April 22 to restrict the use of industrial oxygen.
Several states have been reporting a shortage of oxygen supply amid the Covid-19 surge.
The government has also exempted customs duty on medical-grade oxygen, oxygen-related equipment and Covid-19 vaccines till July 31, 2021. It has granted full exemption from basic customs duty and health cess on import of 16 items related to oxygen and oxygen-related equipment.
The government also said on Sunday it has directed all major ports to waive all charges for ships carrying oxygen and related equipment amid a massive surge in coronavirus infections across the country.
The ministry of ports, shipping and waterways said it has directed all major ports to accord the highest priority in the berthing sequence to the vessels carrying consignments of medical grade oxygen, oxygen tanks, oxygen bottles, portable oxygen generators and oxygen concentrators.