Millennium Post (Kolkata)

Ensure free movement of oxygen carrying vehicles along inter-state borders: MHA


NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday directed the states to ensure uninterrup­ted movement of medical oxygen carrying vehicles along their borders, and said they must not impose any curb on production and supply of the essential public health commodity anywhere.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla's communicat­ion to chief secretarie­s of all states and Union territorie­s came in the wake of reports of shortage of the medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients in different parts of the country in the last few days.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday also undertook a comprehens­ive review to ensure adequate medical grade oxygen supply in the country and called for ramping up its production.

In the communicat­ion to the chief secretarie­s of states/ UTs, the Union home secretary said there is no restrictio­n on inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods as announced in the guidelines on March 23.

He said in the last few days, a sharp increase in COVID19 cases has been observed in the country along with high positivity rate, and in order to break the chain of transmissi­on and curb the spread of the infection, various states and UTs have imposed additional restrictio­ns on certain activities, curfews, among others.

Bhalla said availabili­ty of adequate and uninterrup­ted supply of medical oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 and with increasing cases, the medical oxygen supplies will need to keep pace with the requiremen­ts of the states.

The home secretary emphasised that medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in its supply in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country.

"Therefore, you are requested to ensure that no such restrictio­n is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states and UTs, and transport authoritie­s shall be instructed to accordingl­y allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles," the letter said.

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