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The states will have to provide a 'green corridor' for seamless movement of liquid medical oxygen tankers within the cities in order to ensure adequate availability of its supplies amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Union health ministry directive.
A 'green corridor' allows unrestricted passage for quick delivery and are often created to transport organs from deceased donors for transplant.
Apart from ensuring no restriction was imposed on the intra and inter-state movement of oxygen tankers, the states were also directed to create hospital-wise oxygen inventory management and plan in advance for timely replenishment so that there was no stockout.
"The states will also have to ensure timely payment of the due bills to the manufacturers and suppliers to maintain uninterrupted supply of oxygen, and improve power supply infrastructure to have an uninterrupted supply to oxygen manufacturing units in the country," reported Hindustan Times.
There is also the need to effectively coordinate with steel plants for oxygen procurement since steel plants provide approximately 550 metric tonnes oxygen per day in addition to oxygen manufacturers who provide 6400 metric tonnes per day, the states were told.
In a virtual meeting held on Sunday, apart from the Union health secretary, secretary department of industries and internal trade, secretary pharmaceuticals, and state health secretaries and industries secretaries of seven big manufacturing states of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Telangana, Gujarat, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh also took part.
For the patients of COVID-19, oxygen therapy is a crucial component and it has saved lives of many patients who were undergoing treatment.
"The health ministry had earlier on Friday written a letter to states asking them to make certain there was no interruption in the movement of tankers across borders so that there was no shortage anywhere in the country," sources said.
Some states do not have oxygen manufacturing units and are dependent on other states. Delhi gets its oxygen supply largely from Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. Punjab gets its supply from Haryana; Madhya Pradesh gets it from Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra; and Andhra Pradesh and Telangana get their supplies mostly from Karnataka.
With COVID-19 cases increasing across various states, India's actual oxygen consumption is about 2,000 metric tonnes per day. On the other hand, the production capacity per day is about 6,400 metric tonnes which also includes industry usage.
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