The union home secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla has written to all the state chief secretaries to keep the supply of medical oxygen smooth and hassle-free.
It has been emphasised upon as there is a critical need to maintain an adequate supply of medical oxygen in the country in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has included medical oxygen in the national list and also in the list of essential medicines.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had issued consolidated guidelines on the lockdown measures to be taken by the ministries and the various central departments.
Within the consolidated guidelines, manufacturing units of medical devices, their raw materials and intermediates; manufacturing units of their packaging material; transportation of essential goods and medical supplies and mobilisation of resources, workers and material for augmentation and expansion of hospital infrastructure have been permitted.
Further, in the communication to all sates on Friday, detailed guidelines have been issued for the smooth functioning of the supply chain of exempted items, involving the interstate movement of employees.
In view of the above, Bhalla has reiterated and clarified the exceptions under various clauses of the consolidated guidelines on lockdown measures include the following:
All manufacturing units of medical oxygen gas or liquid, medical oxygen cylinders, cryogenic tanks for storing liquid oxygen, liquid cryogenic cylinders, liquid oxygen cryogenic transport tanks, ambient vaporisers and cryogenic valves, cylinder valves & accessories-
- Transportation of above items
- Cross land border movement of above items
- Workers of above-mentioned manufacturing units and their transportation should be allowed/ given passes to travel from their homes to factories & back to ensure factories are run on full installed capacity.
The communication emphasises that social distancing and proper hygiene practices must be ensured in each of the above activities, as specified in the lockdown measures.
It will be the responsibility of the head of the organisation/establishment to ensure compliance of such norms.
The district authorities have been asked to ensure strict enforcement.
Further, the communication stresses that District authorities and field agencies may be made aware of the above for strict compliance, especially with reference to the supply of medical oxygen.