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Covid crisis: PM Modi in action mode, cancels Bengal visit, to chair series of meetings

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cancelled his visit to the poll-bound West Bengal on Friday as he will be chairing a series of high-level meetings over the Covid situation in the country.

India TV News Desk India TV News Desk
New Delhi Updated on: April 23, 2021 0:20 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a high-level meeting on
Image Source : PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi holds a high-level meeting on oxygen supply and availability, through video conferencing, in New Delhi.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has cancelled his visit to the poll-bound West Bengal on Friday as he will be chairing a series of high-level meetings over the Covid situation in the country. The Prime Minister was scheduled to address four election rallies in Malda, Murshidabad, Birbhum and Kolkata, but all these stands cancelled as he will now be addressing public meetings virtually tomorrow.

The Prime Minister will address a series of meeting with top officials to review the coronavirus situation in the country as it goes through the second wave, dealing with shortage of oxygen, key medicines at the same time.

Taking to Twitter, PM Modi said, "Tomorrow, will be chairing high-level meetings to review the prevailing COVID19 situation. Due to that, I would not be going to West Bengal."

PM Modi chairs high-level meeting on oxygen production

Earlier in the day, the Prime Minister chaired a high-level meeting to review oxygen supply across the country. He asked top officials to work rapidly on increasing its production, boosting the speed of distribution and using innovative ways to provide oxygen support to health facilities.

PM also said that states must act against any hoarding of oxygen and directed officials to ensure that the oxygen supply to various states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner and called for fixing responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction.

PM discusses boosting vaccine availability

In the meeting that also discussed ways and means to boost oxygen availability amid demands from many states for an increase in its supply, Modi was told that the supply of life-saving gas to states has been steadily increasing.

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Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT/day of liquid medical oxygen, the Centre has from April 21 allocated 6,822 MT/day to these states, a statement said.

High demand for liquid medical oxygen

It was noted that in the last few days, the availability of liquid medical oxygen has been increased by about 3,300 MT/day with contributions from private and public steel plants, industries, oxygen manufacturers as well as through prohibition of supply of oxygen for non-essential industries.

Railways ensuring quick transportation of medical oxygen

Modi said states should come down heavily on hoarding and stressed the need to ensure faster transportation of oxygen. The statement said railways is being used for rapid and non-stop long-distance transport of tankers.

The first rake has reached from Mumbai to Vizag to transport 105 MT of the liquid medical oxygen. Similarly, empty oxygen tankers are also being air-lifted to oxygen suppliers to reduce one-way journey time in oxygen supply.

The prime minister was informed that an elaborate exercise is being done in coordination with states to find their demand for oxygen and ensure adequate supply accordingly, the statement said.

Work underway to operationalise PSA oxygen plants

Top officials representing various ministries informed Modi that they are working together with the states to operationalize the sanctioned PSA oxygen plants as soon as possible.

"PM directed the officials to ensure that oxygen supply to various states happens in a smooth, unhindered manner. He spoke about the need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction. He also asked ministries to explore various innovative ways to increase production & supply of oxygen," it said.

Various measures are being undertaken to rapidly increase the availability of cryogenic tankers through conversion of nitrogen and argon tankers, import and airlifting of tankers as well as manufacturing them, it added.

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.

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

ALSO READNo restriction on movement of oxygen: Centre directs states

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