The Centre on Thursday ordered that no restrictions should be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between states as hospitals across the country are scrambling to shore up supplies during the second wave of the pandemic, Bar and Bench reported.
“No restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to hospitals of the state or Union Territory in which they are located,” the government order said. “Supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the government, is prohibited with effect from 22nd April, 2021, and till further orders.”
The home ministry’s order, issued under the Disaster Management Act, states that no restrictions can be imposed on the inter-state and intra-state movement of persons and goods.
“There shall be free movement of oxygen-carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without any restriction,” the order read. “No authority shall attach the oxygen-carrying passing through the district or areas for making supplies specific to any particular district(s) or area.”
India’s healthcare infrastructure is bursting at the seams as the country reports thousands of new coronavirus cases every day. This has led to a chronic shortage of oxygen supplies, beds and timely medical care.
So far, two hospitals in Delhi have moved the High Court asking for help in getting oxygen supplies. On Thursday, Saroj Super Specialty Hospital in Delhi’s Rohini area moved the court seeking urgent supply of oxygen to critical coronavirus patients.
On Wednesday, Max Hospitals sought urgent help to tide over the oxygen shortage it was facing in six of its hospitals in the Capital. During this hearing, the Delhi High Court said it was “shocked and dismayed” to see that the Centre does not seem to be to mindful of the “extremely urgent” need of medical oxygen in the country to treat Covid-19 patients.
On Thursday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal pointed out that the city requires a daily supply of 700 tonnes of oxygen as per the government estimates. He said oxygen is not manufactured in the city, leading to logistical problems of transfer.
The Haryana government on Wednesday accused authorities in Delhi of stealing its share of oxygen supplies amid shortages.
India recorded the world’s highest daily tally of 3,14,835 coronavirus infections on Thursday. The country now has 1,59,30,965 cases and the toll rose to 1,84,657 with a record 2,104 deaths.