Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Friday oxygen manufacturers need to utilise their full potential to meet the demand of medical oxygen in the coming days, saying there is a need to increase the availability of cylinders as well as to upgrade the logistical facilities for its transportation.
PM Modi made the remarks during his virtual meeting with the country’s leading oxygen manufacturers to address the crisis unfolding in hospitals across India due to the shortage of gas for Covid-19 patients. The meeting comes amid concerns flagged by some states on supply of the life-saving gas running short with a number of hospitals, including premier ones, sending out an SOS.
“PM Modi said this time is not only to deal with the challenges, but also to provide solutions in a very short time. PM Modi stressed on the need to maintain good co-ordination between the government and the oxygen producers,” a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
The statement said that PM Modi praised the manufactures for increasing their production in the last few weeks and acknowledged the several steps taken to increase the production of liquid oxygen. PM Modi also thanked the industry for diverting industrial oxygen to meet medical requirements in the country.
“PM Modi noted that there is a need to increase the availability of oxygen cylinders as well as upgrade the logistics facilities for transportation of oxygen. He urged the industry to utilize tankers meant to transport other gases for oxygen supply,” the PMO statement said.
The government is working on effective use of the Indian Railways and Indian Air Force (IAF) to ensure timely availability of tankers at the production centre as soon as possible to meet the requirements of oxygen by Indian states, the statement added. “PM Modi remarked that the government, the states, the industry and the transporters, and all the hospitals need to come together and work in unison. The better the synergy and coordination, the easier it will be able to deal with this challenge,” the statement read.
The meeting was attended by Reliance Industries Limited chairperson Mukesh Ambani, managing director of Air Water Jamshedpur Noriyo Shibuya, Naveen Jindal of Jindal Steel and Power, Rajesh Kumar Sharaf (NOL), M Banerjee of LINDE, Sajjan Jindal of JSW, SAIL’ chairperson Soma Mondal, Dilip Oommen of AMNS and Siddharth Jain of INOX.
Amid a severe shortage of oxygen across the country amid rising Covid-19 cases, steelmaker Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (JSPL) on Thursday announced that more than 500 tonnes of liquid oxygen is available at its Angul plant in Odisha. “We have more than 500 tons of liquid oxygen readily available at our Angul plant. Apart from this, we can provide 100 tonnes/day to any government that needs it. We will continue to support the nation in all possible ways in this war against the pandemic. Jai Hind,” JSPL chairperson Naveen Jindal said in a tweet on Thursday.
Hospitals in Delhi have been sending out SOS messages about the escalating “oxygen emergency”. Twenty-five of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital’s “sickest” Covid-19 patients died in 24 hours and the lives of 60 more hung in precarious balance, officials said on Friday morning as the scramble for oxygen got increasingly more frantic in hospitals across the national capital.
India on Friday recorded more than 314,000 lakh new coronavirus cases, the highest-ever single-day count in any country, as many hospitals grappled with limited oxygen supply, prompting the Centre to issue strict directives to states and Union territories to ensure uninterrupted production and supply of medical oxygen and its transport.