- Medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity: Mr. Bhalla
- Mr. Bhalla asked states to constitute committees to monitor oxygen supply
- States cannot restrict oxygen supplies: Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla
New Delhi: Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla on Friday wrote to the Chief Secretaries of all the states to ensure free movement of vehicles carrying oxygen stating that any impediment in the supplies of medical oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of the patients suffering from COVID-19. “As you are aware, availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of Medical Oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19. With an increasing number of active cases of COVID-10, the consumption of Oxygen is also expected to increase,” Mr. Bhalla stated in the letter.
It has come to the notice that some States are trying to curb the inter-State movement of oxygen supplies from manufacturing units situated in their respective States by exercising provisions under The Epidemic Disease Act 1897, The Disaster Management Act, 2005, The Essential Commodities Act or any State/UT specific Essential Services Act, The Indian Penal Code of 1860 (or any other such related Acts) and also mandating the manufacturers/suppliers located in the state to restrict their oxygen supplies to the hospitals of the State, the letter read.
It is emphasised that Medical Oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supplies of Medical Oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients sufferings from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country.
Therefore, you are requested to ensure that: No such restriction is 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. No restrictions shall be imposed on Oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the Oxygen supplies only to the hospitals of the State in which they are located and there shall be free movement of Oxygen carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without restriction, Mr. Bhalla added.
It is also requested that all States and Union Territories may constitute multi-disciplinary teams, comprising representatives of the health, industry, transport and other related departments, to continuously monitor the avialbility of medical oxygen in their respective jurisdiction, the letter further read.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.