India banned the supply of oxygen for industrial purposes as oxygen shortages continue in many hospitals in the capital, New Delhi, amid a deadly second wave of Covid-19 in the country.
In an order issued by India’s Ministry of Home Affairs on Thursday, it also said no restrictions are to be imposed on the movement of medical oxygen between states.
The ministry's order came as a response to reports about states blocking the movement of vehicles carrying medical oxygen.
The union territory of Delhi, which includes the national capital, does not produce its own oxygen and relies on central government allocations of oxygen from various manufacturers based on their requirement, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a news conference on Thursday.
Some neighboring states that supply oxygen have been obstructing supply to Delhi, Kejriwal said, appealing to states to “fight this together.”
Some renowned private hospitals in Delhi, such as Fortis, have taken to social media to urge the prime minister’s office and government officials to boost supplies of oxygen.
With shortages being reported across the country, local and state leaders have been appealing to the federal government for more oxygen and medicine.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared to answer those calls on Tuesday, announcing plans for the delivery of 100,000 cylinders of oxygen nationwide, new oxygen production plants, and hospitals dedicated to Covid-19 patients.
On Thursday, Modi chaired a meeting to review the oxygen supply across the country and ways in which to boost production of oxygen and improve distribution.
During the meeting, he stressed that state authorities should come down heavily on those hoarding supplies, according to a government news release.