NEW DELHI: Following severe restrictions announced by some States, the Union Home Ministry in a fresh circular directing that inter-state vehicular movement should not be stopped and allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles.
“Whereas, an Order bearing No. 40-3/2020- DM-I(A) dated 23.03.2021, alongwith guidelines for effective control of COVID-19 have been issued under section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 (hereinafter referred to as the DM Act) wherein, inter alia, it is mandated that there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods,” the circular issued by Home Secretary.
The circular said that due to rapid rise in COVID-19 cases and with increasing case positivity rate, various States/UTs have imposed some additional restrictions on certain activities and weekend lockdowns/curfews etc. to break the chain of transmission and to contain the spread of Covid-19;
“The availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of Medical Oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate and severe cases of COVID-19 and with the increasing cases, the medical oxygen supply will need to keep pace with the requirements of the States/ UTs,” it says.
The circular says the Empowered Group-1 (EG-IT), is mandated for coordinating medical logistics, including medical oxygen. EG-II has reviewed the supply of oxygen for industrial use in order to divert the same to meet the rising demand for medical oxygen in the country and save precious lives.
“Accordingly. EG II has recommended to prohibit the supply of Oxygen for industrial purposes by manufacturers and suppliers forthwith from 22.04.2021 till further orders, with the exception of nine specified industries. The recommendations of the EG-II have been accepted by the Central Government and the said decision, alongwith the list of nine exempted industries, have been conveyed by Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare,” it says.
Further, it says, to ensure the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen across the country for management of COVID-19 patients, in exercise of powers conferred under section 10(2)(1) of the DM Act, the undersigned, in the capacity as Chairperson, National Executive Committee, hereby directs the State/l Inion Territory Governments and State/ Union Territory Authorities to ensure the following measures within their areas of jurisdiction:
• No restriction shall be 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 UT in which they are located:
• There shall be free movement of oxygen carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without any restriction:
• No authority shall attach the oxygen carrying vehicles passing through the district or areas for making supplies specific to any particular district(s) or area: (v) Supply of oxygen for industrial purposes, except those exempted by the Government, is prohibited w.e.f. 22 April, 2021 and till further orders:
• States/UTs shall strictly abide by the supply plan of medical oxygen prepared by EG II and as revised from time-to-time;
• The District Magistrates/ Deputy Commissioners and Senior Superintendents of Police Superintendents of Police/ Deputy Commissioners of Police will be personally liable for implementation of the above directions.