The tankers were sent to hospitals in and around Hyderabad, as well as Khammam and Karimnagar.

An oxygen tanker returning from Odisha entering TIMS in Hyderabad
Coronavirus Coronavirus Tuesday, April 27, 2021 - 10:12

Telangana on April 26 received five tankers loaded with medical oxygen from Odisha, and dispatched them to various hospitals in the state treating COVID-19 patients. Out of nine empty tankers which were airlifted from Hyderabad to Odisha last week, five returned with oxygen from the Rourkela Steel Plant of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL). The tankers were sent to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), the District Hospital, King Kothi, the Chest Hospital and Area Hospital in Cherlapally — all in and around Hyderabad — and to government hospitals in Khammam and Karimnagar. Four more tankers are expected to reach Hyderabad on April 27.

The empty tankers were specially flown to Odisha in two C17 cargo aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Begumpet Airport to cut down the travel time by three days. Officials had said they will bring back about 150 metric tonne of oxygen to the state. Telangana Health Minister Eatala Rajender had said that the airlifting of the tankers to Angul and Rourkela steel plants in Odisha will save three days in transportation. 

Realising that a lot of time would be wasted moving oxygen from distant places through tankers, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao decided to move oxygen cylinders by air. The Telangana government had claimed that it showed the way to the country by using war planes to airlift oxygen tankers.

Telangana claimed that it is the first state in the country to use aircraft to transport oxygen tankers. Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said for the first time, vacant oxygen tankers were sent by aircraft from Hyderabad or anywhere in the country to another place to save time and lives. "The Government of India allotted us oxygen at places which are very far off. The tankers take six days. By airlifting the tankers, we will not only be saving three days' time but we can save many lives," he said.

The Union government had allotted close to 360  metric tonne of oxygen to Telangana from 12 steel industries spread across the country. Apart from Odisha, the oxygen was allotted from steel plants located at Hospet and Bellary in Karnataka, and at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.+

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