New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday held a crucial meet to review oxygen supply across the country and discussed ways and means to boost its availability amid row with state and union territory (UT) governments. In his meeting, PM Modi called increasing production and speed of distribution and said that "innovative ways" should be used to provide oxygen support to health facilities.

The meeting was attended by the Cabinet Secretary, Principal Secretary to PM, Home Secretary, Health Secretary and officials from the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Road Transport, Pharmaceuticals and NITI Aayog.

In a statement, the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said that PM Modi has directed officials to ensure that oxygen is supplied to states and UTs in a "smooth and unhindered manner", adding that the Centre needs to "fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction". He also said that state and UT governments should take necessary steps to stop hoarding of oxygen.

"It was discussed that Railways is being used for rapid and non-stop long distance transport of tankers. First rake has reached from Mumbai to Vizag to transport 105 MT of LMO. Similarly, empty oxygen tankers are also being air-lifted to Oxygen suppliers to reduce one way journey time in oxygen supply," the PMO said.

"Representatives from the medical community also spoke about the need for judicious use of oxygen and how an audit in some states has decreased oxygen demand without affecting the condition of patients," it added.

During the meeting, PM Modi was also briefed on on efforts undertaken in the last few weeks to improve oxygen supply. He was also informed that the necessary steps have been taken by the officials to ensure that states and UTs recieve adequate medical oxygen for coronavirus patients. The officials told PM Modi that the Centre so far has provided 6,822 MT per day of liquid medical oxygen to 20 states.

"It was noted that in last few days, availability of Liquid Medical Oxygen has increased by 3,300 MT per day with contributions from private and public steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of O2 supply for non-essential industries," the PMO said.

"Officers informed PM that they're working together with states to operationalise sanctioned PSA oxygen plants as soon as possible. PM directed officials to ensure that O2 supply to states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner," it added.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma