Faced with shortage of oxygen supply to treat an unprecedented rise in critical Covid patients across the country, India tonight decided to ban the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes from April 22 till further order.
“…..the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers is prohibited forthwith from 22.04.2021 till further orders,” the health ministry said in a statement.
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The matter was deliberated by the commerce ministry with all stakeholders and “after due deliberations, it was considered prudent to restrict the industrial usage of oxygen to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen,” according to the ministry.
“The surplus oxygen available as a result of this temporary restriction will facilitate its freeing up for use as medical oxygen for treatment of Covid-19 patients,” it said.
India is facing an unprecedented surge in new daily cases of Covid and the requirement of oxygen for effective clinical treatment of patients has also witnessed a manifold increase.
As per the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the commerce ministry, the requirement of oxygen for Covid treatment has already reached about 60 percent of the total daily oxygen production and is expected to rise further.
In another move to boost the supply of oxygen for treatment of Covid parients in different parts of the country, the railways ministry is gearing up to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders and to run special trains called “Oxygen Express.”
To facilities easy and smooth transport of oxygen by freight trains across the country, a green corridor is being created for fast movement of “Oxygen Express” trains.
The prohibition on oxygen for industrial will, however, not apply to the supply of oxygen for production of ampoules and vials, pharmaceutical industries, petroleum refineries, steel plants, nuclear energy facilities, oxygen cylinder manufacturers, waste water treatment plants, food and water purification and process industries which require uninterrupted operation of furnaces.