A 34-year-old man in Hyderabad was arrested for selling and illegally possessing oxygen cylinders without a valid licence.
Eight 70-kg oxygen cylinders, seven 40-kg cylinders, and ten 10-kg cylinders were seized from the possession of Mohammed Amer, who is into the medical equipment business in the seven tombs area of Golconda, said police. He has been remanded to judicial custody.
Hyderabad police commissioner Anjani Kumar took to twitter and said that hoarding, illegal purchase and sale of oxygen cylinders was a crime. He warned those who indulge in the offence would be booked under the Explosive Act as well as the Disaster Management Act.
Investigation Officer sub-inspector, K Ramana, said that Amer has been doing the business since January this year. He was taken into custody on the night of July 10 based on a complaint from another SI, T Raju.
Over the last few days, several instances emerged of skyrocketing prices for oxygen cylinders. With more and more Covid patients referred to home quarantine after showing mild to moderate symptoms, there has been an acute shortage in the supply of oxygen cylinders.
Meanwhile, the prices have increased manifold and blackmarketing of oxygen cylinders has been reported. Several social workers and NGOs have taken up the task of supplying oxygen cylinders for free to those referred by doctors for oxygen therapy.
Owing to the prevailing situation, Telangana Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar reviewed the supply of oxygen to hospitals across the state on July 10.
It was decided to form teams comprising officers from Drug Control Administration, Task Force of Hyderabad city police, Director of Public Health and Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives to inspect hospitals and dealers to assess whether sale and utilization of oxygen cylinders has been in conformity with the guidelines. The teams were directed to initiate prosecution in case of violation of rules.
All hospitals treating COVID-19 patients have been advised to migrate to cryogenic liquid oxygen tanks/vessels in order to avoid any likelihood of bottlenecks. They reiterated that traders who are holding the stock of oxygen cylinders should possess a license from PESO, failing which they will also be prosecuted under the Explosives Act.
The Hyderabad police commissioner informed the officials that two cases had already been booked under various laws such as Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940, IPC, Disaster Management Act and Indian Explosives Act 1984.
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