People carry oxygen cylinders after refilling them in a factory, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad. (Reuters)
People carry oxygen cylinders after refilling them in a factory, amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad. (Reuters)

GPS tracking enabled for oxygen tankers to boost preparedness, says govt

The official said that it will help hospitals in states adversely affected by Covid-19 to prepare effectively when oxygen tankers arrive at hospitals and reduce chances of accidents as well as wastage.
By | Written by Shankhyaneel Sarkar | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON APR 26, 2021 05:51 PM IST

The government on Monday said it is enabling real-time tracking for trains and trucks carrying oxygen tankers in order to prepare hospitals and decrease the amount of time taken to administer oxygen to Covid-19 patients who need it the most. An official of the Union ministry of home affairs said the Union ministry of road transport and highways has devised a system to track the status of tankers in real-time. “We were facing difficulties as we did not have an idea regarding where the tankers were and lacked preparation when the tankers arrived. We wanted to devise a method where the distribution of oxygen was done efficiently and accidents are also averted. The GPS tracking system will help us know when the tanker has left the plant and how far away it is from the destination allowing us to prepare when it arrives,” additional secretary Piyush Goyal said.

He also said that the Indian Air Force’s participation has helped in making oxygen available to states which are badly affected by coronavirus disease (Covid-19). “Empty tankers which are carried by aircraft have shortened the time span. Earlier trains and trucks were used to send empty oxygen tanks to production plants which took two to three days to reach, the journey has now decreased to a matter of two to three hours,” he said. He also highlighted that fully filled oxygen tanks cannot be carried by aircraft as it is not technically feasible and is also risky. He added that road transport and railways ministries are working round the clock to decrease the amount of time it is taking for oxygen to reach hospitals from production plants while reiterating that at this point oxygen should be treated as ambulances.

The crisis of oxygen in several states and cities of India has led to several deaths as the nation battles a second wave of Covid-19. The Prime Minister at a review meeting has asked states and Union territories to work together and help each other with oxygen procurement. Delhi High Court has also asked stakeholders to ensure that lack of oxygen should not lead to more deaths.

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