Suryakant Jena

Bhubaneswar: In what will further strengthen Odisha's fightback against the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic that has been sweeping the State for the last several weeks, the government on Sunday recieved a major boost of oxygen cylinders imported from China. As many as 1350 oxygen cylinders arrived at Bhubaneswar Biju Patnaik International Airport in a special flight from China. 

The consignment of oxygen cylinders have been provided to the government by ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel India under it's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative. As per sources, the steel giant has committed to provide around 5000 oxygen cylinders to Odisha in view of the Covid crisis.

The office of the Chief Minister of Odisha informed about the delivery of the much-needed aid through its Twitter handle. "Living up to its commitment of ensuring Oxygen availability for all #Covid affected, #Odisha organised medical oxygen cylinders from abroad; the first lot sponsored through CSR of @AMNSIndia arrived today at Biju Patnaik International Airport," the CMO tweeted.

Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) Chairman Asit Tripathy termed the step is a way forward to ensure zero loss of life due to any form oxygen crisis amid this pandemic. Tripathy has mentioned that the entire government machinery is working in this regard as per the directive of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

"A freighter from China landed in bbsr directly carrying oxy cylinders. A first for the country.A step ahead in dev oxy security.Hon CM has directed no patient shall suffer for want of oxygen in Odisha," Tripathy stated in a Twitter post.

"7500 more cylinders will arrive on June 9. So far, we have already arranged over 32000 oxygen cylinders. Odisha has played a vital role in resolving the oxygen crisis of around 11 to 12 states," Tripathy told newsmen. 

Industries Secretary Hemant Sharma said, "Odisha is the first state to import more than 10000 cylinders from outside and this is because of the State government's resilient disaster management planning."

The Odisha State Medical Corporation (OSMC) had earlier floated tenders for procurement of 18,000 more cylinders to ensure that the Covid care centres in rural areas also get oxygen support.

The government had also urged the Centre to supply 10,000 jumbo oxygen cylinders, 20,000 B-type cylinders among other allied facilities like 5,000 oxygen concentrators.