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Centre on September 18 asked the state governments to ensure that there is no restriction on manufacture, transportation and supply of medical oxygen in any part of the country, as it is an essential item in the management of increasing numbers of active COVID-19 patients.

In a letter written to all the chief secretaries of the states and Union territories (UTs), Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said: “As you are aware, availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen is an important pre-requisite for management of moderate and severe cases of COVID-19. With increasing number of active cases of COVlD-19, the consumption of oxygen is also expected to increase.”

“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 power under various laws including Epidemic Disease Act 1897, the Disaster Management Act, 2005 and the Essential Commodities Act,” the home secretary further said in the letter.

Emphasising that the medical oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in its supplies in the country may critically impact the COVID-19 management in other parts of the country, Bhalla advised that no such restriction is imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between states.

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He also noted that transport authorities “shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state and intra-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles”.

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