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Marking 7 years at helm, PM flags Covid fight: 10-fold rise in oxygen stocks, testing surge

Addressing the 77th episode of Mann Ki Baat, the Prime Minister also thanked farmers for enabling the Government to procure a record amount of crops.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
May 31, 2021 4:12:34 am

WITH THE NDA Government completing seven years at the helm Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi focused on the country’s fight against Covid, which he described as “the biggest pandemic in the last hundred years”, thanked “Covid warriors”, and pointed out that India is now producing over 10 times more liquid oxygen than in normal times — from 900 metric tonnes a day to 9,500 metric tonnes.

Addressing the 77th episode of Mann Ki Baat, the Prime Minister also thanked farmers for enabling the Government to procure a record amount of crops. He listed the key initiatives of the Government, including rural electricity connections, infrastructure, financial inclusion, water availability in homes and health insurance. He pointed to a “new confidence of peace and development” from the Northeast to Jammu and Kashmir.

“When the second wave came, the demand for oxygen surged all of a sudden…this was a very big challenge…delivering medical oxygen to remote parts of the country was indeed a huge task… Many plants manufacturing industrial oxygen are located in the eastern parts of the country… In confronting this challenge, the country was helped by cryogenic tanker drivers, the Oxygen Express and Air Force pilots…Our warriors are transporting this oxygen to far-flung corners of the country,’’ he said.

“The nation salutes these soldiers of ours, these warriors of ours for the work that they have done…You can guess for yourself, in normal circumstances we used to produce 900 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen in a day. Now, it has expanded to generate more than 10 times the normal output and produce around 9,500 metric tonnes per day,” he said.

The Prime Minister said that while on one hand, empty tankers were being flown to oxygen plants by the Air Force, the Government was pushing to build oxygen plants across the country. “Along with that, oxygen, oxygen concentrators and cryogenic tankers from abroad also are being brought into the country,” he said.

During the radio programme, Modi interacted with four Corona warriors: Dinesh Babulnath Upadhyay, an oxygen tanker driver for 15 years who hails from Hasanpur village in UP’s Jaunpur; Shirisha Gajni, a locomotive pilot of Oxygen Express, and part of an all-female team; Prakash Kandpal, a lab technician for the past decade at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences in Delhi who is involved in Covid testing; and Group Captain A K Patnaik from the Hindon Air Force station.

Group Captain Patnaik, who joined the interaction with his 12-year-old daughter, is among those from the IAF who have been lifting oxygen tankers and liquid oxygen containers from domestic and international destinations.

The Prime Minister, further, pointed out that there are 2,500 testing labs across the country today, and that 20 lakh tests are carried out daily as opposed to a few hundred tests per day earlier. So far, more than 33 crore samples have been tested, he said.

The Prime Minister said that despite the devastation of the pandemic, the agricultural sector achieved record produce. “The farmers produced record output and this time the country went on to procure a record amount of crops. This time, in many places farmers have got more than the minimum support price (MSP) for mustard. Due to the record food grain production, our country has been able to provide support to every countryman. Today, 800 million underprivileged denizens are being provided free ration in this hour of crisis,’’ he said.

Speaking about the last seven years of the Government, Modi said: “When we observe that now India moves ahead not with the thought and pressure of other countries but with her own conviction, then we all feel proud. When we witness that now India gives a befitting reply to those who conspire against us, then our confidence soars. When India does not compromise on the issues of national security, when the strength of our armed forces increases, we feel that yes, we are on the right path.’’

Listing the Government’s initiatives, he said: “In these seven years, India has worked to show the world a new direction in digital transactions. Today, you can make digital payments with absolute ease at any place, it is proving very useful even in this time of Corona. Today, the seriousness and awareness of the countrymen towards cleanliness is increasing. We are also launching satellites and constructing roads. In these seven years, many old contestations of the country have also been resolved with complete peace and harmony. A new confidence of peace and development has arisen from the Northeast to Kashmir.’’

Referring to other initiatives, he said: “In the seven decades after Independence, only three-and-a-half crore rural homes of our country had water connections. However, just in the last 21 months, four-and-a-half crore houses have been given clean water connections. Of these, 15 months were of the Corona period.’’

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