AJAY BHALLA, IAS
Government of India
18th September, 2020
Dear chief secretary
Please refer to Ministry of Home Affairs’ Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A) dated 29.08.2020 whereby Guidelines for Unlock-4 have been issued. As per these Guidelines, lockdown is limited to the Containment Zones and all activities are permitted outside the containment zone except few prohibited activities. Further, there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods as also reiterated in my DO letter of even number dated 22.08.2020.
2. As you are aware, availability of adequate and uninterrupted supply of Medical Oxygen is an important pre-requisite for managing moderate 86 severe cases of COVID-19. With increasing number of active cases of COVID-19, the consumption of oxygen is also expected to increase.
3. 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 provisions under The Epidemic Disease Act 1897, The Disaster Management Act, 2005, The Essential Commodities Act or any State / UT specific Essential Services Act, The Indian Penal Code of 1860 (or any other such related Acts) and also mandating the manufacturers/ suppliers located in the state to restrict their oxygen supplies to the hospitals of the State.
4. It is emphasised that Medical Oxygen is an essential public health commodity and any impediment in the supplies of Medical Oxygen in the country may critically impact the management of patients suffering from COVID-19 disease in other parts of the country.
5. Therefore, you are requested to ensure that:
i) no such restriction is 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;
ii) no restrictions shall be imposed on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies only to the hospitals of the State in which they are located; and
iii) there shall be free movement of oxygen carrying vehicles into the cities, without any restriction of timings, while also enabling inter-city supply without restriction.
6. It is also requested that all States and Union Territories may constitute multi-disciplinary teams, comprising representatives of the health, industry, transport and other related Departments, to continuously monitor the availability of medical oxygen in their respective jurisdictions. Any shortfalls/related problems that are encountered in this regard, should be immediately brought to the notice of the Central Control Room that has been established in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The contact details of the Control Room are herewith attached. The email address of the Control Room is : oxygen-crAgov.in.
7. A report on the action taken on the above may be sent to MHA.
Chief Secretaries of All States
(As per Standard List attached)