The Railways Friday formulated a policy for the transportation of liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic tankers after a plea by the government of Maharashtra, one of the worst affected states by the coronavirus pandemic.

The policy, made public late Friday night, said the cryogenic tankers will be transported as a paid-for roll on-roll of (Ro-Ro) service to various destinations across states.

The circular said Maharashtra’s health secretary had requested for the transport of medical oxygen in cryogenic containers.

“The matter has been examined. Competent authority has approved the transport of liquid medical oxygen in cryogenic containers,” it said, detailing the charges to be levied for the service.

The circular said the staff accompanying liquid oxygen trucks to be loaded on the Ro-Ro service will be charged second class ticket for the journey and only two persons will be allowed to accompany the truck.

The empty flow direction of the containers will also be charged by the railways.

The centre on Friday asked states to allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles considering the rising demand of medical oxygen owing to swelling numbers of covid-19 cases.

“No such restriction is imposed on the movement of Medical Oxygen between the States/ UTs and transport authorities shall be instructed to accordingly allow free inter-state movement of oxygen carrying vehicles,” Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla said in a letter to state chief secretaries.

Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray had requested the Centre to provide assistance for supply of oxygen as the health infrastructure in the state is overburdened with the rise in new Covid cases. The CM added that all the oxygen produced are being used for medical purposes and also highlighted the shortages of beds in the hospitals.

(With inputs from PTI)

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