NEW DELHI: In a bid to make oxygen available to more people, the Centre on Sunday barred the use of liquid oxygen for any non-medical purpose and asked manufacturing units to maximise its production and make it available to the government for medical use.
The order by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla came amid a scarcity of medical oxygen in many parts of the country, particularly in Delhi, that have been hit by a fresh wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
The central government is trying to source oxygen from different parts of the country and making it available in the worst-hit states by running special trains.
It is also getting cryogenic tanks from countries like Singapore and the UAE to transport oxygen and oxygen concentrators from the United States.
Exercising the powers conferred under the Disaster Management Act, the union home secretary directed the state and union territory governments to ensure that “use of liquid oxygen is not allowed for any non-medical purpose and all manufacturing units may maximise their production of liquid oxygen, and make it available to the government for use for medical purposes only, with immediate effect and until further orders.
” Further, Bhalla directed that all stocks of liquid oxygen should also be made available to the government for use for medical purposes and no exception is allowed to any industry with regard to use of liquid oxygen.
The home secretary referred to various measures taken so far to ensure uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country.
He 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.
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 order said.
India logged a record 3,49,691 new coronavirus infections and 2,767 on Sunday.