‘Ensure supply of oxygen is not restricted’: Home ministry to states
The MHA also asked the state governments that they 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 jurisdictions.Updated: Sep 18, 2020, 21:57 IST
The ministry of home affairs (MHA) on Friday asked all states and union territories to ensure free movement of vehicles carrying oxygen as it is an essential public health commodity and an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe Covid-19 cases.
In a letter to the chief secretaries of all the states, Union home secretary Ajay Bhalla said that it has come to the notice of the ministry that some states are trying to curb inter-state movement of oxygen supplies from manufacturing units situated in their respective areas by exercising provisions of The Epidemic Disease Act, The Disaster Management Act, The Essential Commodities Act or any state/Union Territory specific Essential Services Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
He added that some states are also mandating the manufacturers/suppliers located in the state to restrict their oxygen supplies to the hospitals of the state, he said.
“As you are aware, availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of Covid- 19. With increasing number of active cases, the consumption of oxygen is also expected to increase,” Bhalla said in his letter, adding – “It is emphasised that medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supply of medical oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from Covid-19 in other parts of the country.”
The home secretary said that states/UTs should make sure there are “no such restrictions 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 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 letter added.
The MHA also asked the state governments that they 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 jurisdictions.
“Any shortfalls or related problems that are encountered in this regard, should be immediately brought to the notice of the Central Control Room that has been established in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW),” he said.
The home secretary also referred to the Unlock-4 guidelines where it was clearly mentioned that the lockdown is limited to the Covid-19 containment zones and all activities are permitted outside the containment zone except a few prohibited activities. “Further, there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods,” he said.