The court had taken suo motu notice of newspaper reports about transfer of oxygen cylinders from Tamil Nadu to other states.

Oxygen cylinders lined up at a hospital
news Coronavirus Thursday, April 22, 2021 - 18:00

The Tamil Nadu government on Thursday responded to the Madras High Court’s queries on the current oxygen supply and availability of the drug remdesivir in the state, in the face of growing number of COVID-19 cases. The government told the court that there is no shortage of oxygen or of the drug.

The first bench of the Madras High Court, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Justice Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, had taken suo motu notice of newspaper reports about transfer of oxygen cylinders from Tamil Nadu to other states even as the state is reeling under the surging cases.

The High Court bench asked the state Advocate General Vijay Narayan to get a report on the measures taken by the state to handle the crisis.

In its response, the state said that it had the capability to produce 400 metric tonnes of oxygen of which only 250 metric tonnes were used per day. It further clarified that there was no problem for the state in terms of oxygen supply even after giving 65 metric tonnes to Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The government’s counsel further noted that remdesivir can be bought from government hospitals if private hospitals are running out of the drug.

The court had also observed that Tamil Nadu has several industries that can supply oxygen and that there is proper infrastructure to transport this oxygen.

Vedanta Industries, Thoothukudi, has already written to both the Tamil Nadu government and the Union Health Ministry saying that it can supply oxygen from its Sterlite copper plants that were shut down. The company has offered to supply 1,000 tonnes of oxygen daily.

The copper smelting unit had written to both the Union Health Minister and to the state government about the offer. The same had also been informed to the Supreme Court, which heard the matter on Thursday.

The Madras High Court meanwhile said there need not be any confusion and that the state has to control the situation.



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