New Delhi: As a number of states have reported scarcity of medical oxygen in the wake of rising cases of coronavirus, the Central government said it is in talks for the import of high-capacity oxygen-carrying tankers from Singapore and the UAE and directed states to revive all closed oxygen plants for augmenting its production. Notably, the move from the Centre came after Union Home Minister Amit Shah reviewed the coronavirus situation in the country on Friday.Also Read - Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Elected as New President Of UAE: Report

In separate letters, the Centre asked all states to prepare a list of oxygen producers in their respective jurisdiction and directed them to ensure uninterrupted supply and transport of oxygen in the places where there is a demand. Also Read - UAE President And Abu Dhabi Ruler Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Dies at 73

With a view to make available additional tankers for movement of oxygen, the home ministry is coordinating lifting of high-capacity tankers from abroad, including Singapore and the UAE, by Indian Air Force transport planes. Also Read - India Among 30 Odd Countries Where Marital Rape Not Criminalised Yet | Check List Here

As per latest updates, a home ministry expert group is also optimising and rationalising the allocation of oxygen to various states and union territories keeping in view the active cases and to reduce time for movement of medical oxygen.

Issuing a statement, the Home Ministry said that Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla asked all states and union territories to ensure adequate security to oxygen transporting vehicles and to make provisions for exclusive corridors for transportation, treating these vehicles like ambulances. The home ministry is also facilitating movement of medical oxygen across the country following an approved allocation plan.

The Indian Air Force has started transporting empty tankers after delivery of oxygen to destination state and union territory to oxygen producing locations to reduce movement time.

Moreover, the home secretary also urged the states governments to take immediate actions on the above suggestions and send an action taken report, followed by a status report urgently to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).

In another letter, the home secretary said an order has already been issued on free movement of oxygen between the states and not to impose restriction on oxygen manufacturers and suppliers to limit the oxygen supplies to the hospitals of the state or union territory in which they are located.

At this critical time, the country is struggling with a second wave of the coronavirus infection and hospitals in several states are reeling under a shortage of medical oxygen and beds in view of a rising number of cases.

President of the European Council Charles Michel said India and the EU will discuss possible cooperation in fighting the pandemic at a virtual summit between the two sides on May 8.

Meanwhile, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Friday morning, India recorded a single day rise of 3,32,730 new cases, taking the tally to 1,62,63,695, while active cases crossed the 24-lakh mark. The death toll increased to 1,86,920 with a record 2,263 new fatalities.

(With inputs from PTI)