Modi tells states to ensure smooth movement of oxygen tankers

Asks chief ministers of 12 worst COVID-affected states to set up high-level coordination committees to carry oxygen to hospitals on demand

Modi
Prime Minister Modi had called the meeting mainly to discuss oxygen and medicine supply, besides availability of hospital beds all over the country.

Delhi Chief Arvind Kejriwal’s request to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for uninterrupted oxygen supply to Delhi, had the right impact as Modi asked all states to ensure that tankers carrying oxygen to other states are neither stopped nor delayed.

Modi said this at a meeting with the chief ministers of 12 states, which have been hit the worst by the COVID second wave. Earlier in the meeting, Kejriwal accused some states of stopping medical oxygen being transported to the national capital.

Also read: All talk, no vaccine, poor optics: The three COVID mistakes of Modi govt

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The meeting was mainly aimed at discussing oxygen and medicine supply, besides availability of hospital beds all over the country. The Prime Minister asked all states to set up high-level coordination committees to carry oxygen to hospitals on demand.

Modi asked all states to stay united in this critical juncture and assured full support from the Centre for the same.

During the same meeting, Kejriwal made an earnest appeal to the Prime Minister to make the required phone calls to ensure the airlifting of oxygen from Odisha and West Bengal to the national capital, which for the past few days has been reeling under acute crisis of medical oxygen to cater to COVID patients.

Kejriwal’s talk with the PM, however, was televised, which is against the protocol. Government sources called Kejriwal’s appeal a political gimmick while asserting that the interaction between him and Modi was not meant to be televised.

On Thursday (April 22), the Centre has issued orders under the Disaster Management Act that no state can hold up supplies of oxygen. The order issued by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said: “No restriction shall be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between the states and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles.”

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