(This was originally posted in India Today by Abhishek Bhalla)
The Indian Air Force (IAF) has begun airlifting empty oxygen containers to be refilled and used for transporting it to boost oxygen supply across hospitals amid the acute oxygen shortage as India faces its worst Covid-19 wave. Two C-17s airlifted two empty oxygen containers, one IL 76 airlifted one empty container to Panagarh on Thursday as part of the Covid relief operations, officials said.
Such operations will continue to enhance oxygen supply across hospitals. This comes a day after the Delhi High Court suggested airlifting oxygen to Delhi hospitals that are crying for oxygen every day. Earlier, Covid testing systems were also airlifted to Leh for the Union Territory of Ladakh. In wake of the crisis, Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting on April 22 to review oxygen supply across the country.
“Against the present demand from 20 states of 6,785 MT/ day of Liquid Medical Oxygen, Government of India has from 21st April, allocated 6,822 MT/ day to these states,” a press statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said. “It was noted that in the last few days, 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,” the PMO statement adds.
To augment the supply, Air Force will continue with the operations while plans to fly in containers and other material from abroad is also on.
Earlier, the Indian Air Force swung into action carrying out sorties from various parts of the country airlifting oxygen cylinders, essential medicine, equipment and medical personnel in the battle against the fresh surge of Covid-19 cases. Doctors and nursing staff were also brought in to the Covid hospital set up by the Defence Development Research Organisation (DRDO) in Delhi.