By LE Desk

Ahmedabad, May 5: The Centre has told the Gujarat High Court that it is augmenting oxygen supply for COVID-19 patients from all available sources within India and also importing it from other countries through “diplomatic channels as well as the personal intervention of the political executive”.

In a report on the supply of medical oxygen submitted before the High Court on Monday, the Centre said a total allocation of 8,410 metric tonnes of oxygen has been made for 22 high burden states and Union Territories based on their demand, the Centre told the High Court on Tuesday, as reported by news agency PTI.

The states should also make an effort to manage their oxygen demand through rational usage of this “scarce and critical resource” by continuous and close monitoring of hospitals and stringent audit of the oxygen usage, it said

A division bench of Chief Justice Vikram Nath and Justice B D Karia had sought the Centre’s response while hearing a PIL taken up suo motu (on its own) on the COVID-19 situation.

The Union government said it is “augmenting oxygen supply from all available sources within India and also importing oxygen from other countries using not only the diplomatic channels but also personal intervention of the political executive.”

The process is going on at the national level and is also being undertaken at an international level, it stated.

Any deviation by any judicial order based upon fact, situation and considerations existing in one state will “completely frustrate the whole exercise and shall have a cascading effect”, the Centre said.

“It is submitted that while this exercise is primarily in the nature of managing the supply side of medical oxygen, it is imperative that there are simultaneous efforts to manage the demand side by all the states by focusing on rational usage of this scarce and critical resource in the present circumstances through continuous and close monitoring of all hospitals as well as stringent measures of oxygen usage audit,” the Centre said.

It said the supply of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) by the steel sector increased from 1,000 MT per day in the first week of April 2021 to around 2,600 MT on April 21.

From April 28 onwards, Gujarat was allocated 975 MT oxygen, it said.

Based on the projected requirements of these critically affected states, 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT were mapped for the supply of medical oxygen to 12 states with a high number of COVID-19 cases, to meet their projected demand as on April 20, April 25, and April 30, respectively, and duly approved, it said.

The initial demand for 15 states was revised to 5,619 MT from 4,880 MT as on April 20, with the requirement of Gujarat being at 1,000 MT, it said.

Against its production capacity of 847 MT as on April 28, Gujarat required 1,000 MT LMO, and was allocated 975 MT, out of which the state received 902 MT, the central government said.

“No stone is left unturned to ensure quickest possible transit of medical oxygen,” it said, adding that the defence aircraft and Indian navy ships are being used for the purpose.

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