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New Delhi: Amid the oxygen crises in Covid-19 hospitals across the country, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday directed the concerned officials to ensure that oxygen is supplied to various states and Union Territories (UTs) in a smooth and unhindered manner.

The Prime Minister said that there is a need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction. He also stressed that the states should come down heavily on hoarding.

The directives were issued during a high-level meeting led by the Prime Minister to review oxygen supply across the country and discuss ways and means to boost its availability.

He was briefed on the efforts undertaken in the last few weeks to improve the supply of oxygen.

Modi spoke about the need to work rapidly on multiple aspects: Ramping up production of oxygen, increasing the speed of distribution abd using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to the health facilities.

He was informed that an elaborate exercise is being carried out in coordination with the states to identify their demand for oxygen and ensure adequate supply accordingly.

He was briefed on how oxygen supply to states is steadily increasing. Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT a day of liquid medical oxygen, the government of India has from April 21 allocated 6,822 MT a day to these states, the Prime Minister was briefed.

It was noted that in the last few days, availability of liquid medical oxygen has been increased by about 3,300 MT a day with contributions from private and public steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of supply of oxygen for non-essential industries.

The officials informed Modi that they are working together with the states to operationalise the sanctioned pressure swing adsorption oxygen plants as soon as possible.

The Prime Minister also asked the concerned ministries to explore various innovative ways to increase production and supply of oxygen.

“Various measures are being undertaken to rapidly increase the availability of cyrogenic tankers through conversion of nitrogen and argon tankers, import and airlifting of tankers as well as by manufacturing them,” the Prime Minister’s Office said.

Modi also stressed on the need to ensure faster transportation of oxygen to the states.

It was discussed that the Railways is being used for rapid and non-stop long distance transportation of tankers. The first rake has reached from Mumbai to Vizag to transport 105 MT of LMO.

“Similarly, empty oxygen tankers are also being airlifted to the oxygen suppliers to reduce one-way journey time in oxygen supply,” the PMO said.

Representatives from the medical community also spoke about the need for judicious use of oxygen and how an audit in some states has decreased oxygen demand without affecting the condition of the patients.

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