Prime Minister Narendra Modi today chaired a high-level meeting to review the oxygen supply amid the shortage facing hospitals as the second deadliest wave of coronavirus swept across the country.
Officials briefed the prime minister on efforts in recent weeks to improve oxygen supplies, a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said.
“The prime minister spoke about the need to work quickly on several issues: increasing oxygen production, increasing the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities,” he said.
The availability of medical oxygen, he said, has increased by about 3,300 MT / day, with contributions from private and public steel mills, industries, oxygen producers, and by banning the supply of oxygen to non-essential industries.
The prime minister was briefed on how the demand for oxygen from states is growing due to the large number of Covid cases. India today recorded a record increase in Covid, with 3.14 lakh infections in one day and 2,104 deaths. This is the fastest growing number of cases and deaths suffered by any country so far.
The officers informed the prime minister that he was working with the states to operationalize the 162 sanctioned oxygen installations as soon as possible. Last week, the center agreed to install these plants in public health facilities in all states amid a medical oxygen crisis due to rising coronavirus cases.
The Prime Minister urged officials to ensure that the supply of oxygen to the various states is carried out in a smooth manner, without obstacles. He spoke about the need to establish responsibility with the local administration in case of obstruction, his office added. Ministers were asked by the Prime Minister to explore various innovative ways to increase oxygen production and supply.
Representatives of the medical community also spoke about the need for judicious use of oxygen and how an audit in some states has reduced the demand for oxygen without affecting the condition of patients.
The prime minister also stressed that states should descend sharply on the treasury.