Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said that the government has taken key decisions for increasing the supply of medical oxygen in view of increasing cases of COVID-19. Minister said the central government did mapping in a meeting with governments of 12 states and union territories most affected by COVID-19 and 6,177 metric tonnes of oxygen will be given to these states.
Of these tonnes, Maharashtra is slated to get the biggest share of 1500 metric tonnes of oxygen, Delhi to get 350 metric tonnes and Uttar Pradesh to get 800 metric tonnes, Goyal elaborated.
Viewing the shortage in supplies being flagged across the country, Goyal also said that the states should take steps towards demand control and medical oxygen should be given to needy patients only.
Goyal, also the Minister of Commerce and Industry said, "If cases continue to rise unlimitedly, then it will pose a major challenge for the healthcare infrastructure of the country. We are with state governments, but they need to manage the demand and take concrete steps to contain COVID-19 spread,"
Meanwhile, the Centre on Sunday banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes except in nine specified industries in view of shortage of the essential public health commodity in several states amid a spike in COVID-19 infections.
With several parts of the country witnessing a steep rise in cases, the demand for medical oxygen has increased as it is a critical component in the treatment of COVID-19-affected patients.
The decision will come into effect from April 22. In a communication to all states, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said that in view of the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and resultant rapid demand for medical oxygen, particularly in high-burden states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the central government-constituted Empowered Group-II has reviewed the supply of oxygen for industrial use in order to divert the same to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen in the country and save precious lives.