New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With India reporting over 2 lakh coronavirus cases for the second straight day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday held a crucial meet to review the status of oxygen availability to ensure adequate supply across the country and stressed that it is important to ensure synergy across ministries and state governments.

During the meeting, PM Modi also reviewed the current situation of oxygen supply and projected use in the coming 15 days across 12 high-burden states -- Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.

"PM was informed that the Centre and States are in regular contact and estimates for projected demand have been shared with states as on 20th April, 25th April & 30th April. Accordingly, 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT have been allocated to these 12 states for meeting their projected demand as on 20th April, 25th April and 30th April, respectively," the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said.

"PM was briefed about production capacity in the country to meet the rising demand. PM suggested to increase oxygen production as per capacity of each plant. It was discussed that surplus stocks of oxygen supply in steel plants are being offered from medical use," it added.

The prime minister also asked officials to ensure seamless and free movement of tankers carrying oxygen throughout the country. The government has exempted all inter-state movement of oxygen tankers from registration of permits to enable easier movement, the PMO's statement said.

Prime Minister Modi was informed that states and transporters have been asked to ensure tankers move round the clock with drivers working in shifts to ensure faster turnaround and adequate capacity to meet the surge in demand.

Cylinder filling plants will also be permitted to work for 24 hours with necessary safeguards, the PMO said, adding that the government is allowing industrial cylinders to be used for medical oxygen after due purging.

Similarly, nitrogen and argon tankers will be automatically allowed to be converted to oxygen tankers to overcome the potential shortage of tankers. During the review, officials also briefed the prime minister about the efforts being made to import medical grade oxygen, the PMO said.

India added a record 2,17,353 new coronavirus infections in a day taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 1,42,91,917, while active cases surpassed the 15-lakh mark, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma