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Uddhav Thackeray to PM Modi: Press in NDMA, airlift oxygen

Uddhav Thackeray has also requested PM Modi to grant compulsory licences to units exporting remdesivir to produce and sell them in the domestic market.

Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray. (File Photo)

Highlighting challenges in battling the second wave of Covid-19 infections in Maharashtra, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “press in” the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) and make use of all options, including the airlift of medical oxygen, for rapid movement.

He has also requested the PM to grant compulsory licences to units exporting remdesivir to produce and sell them in the domestic market.

In a letter dated April 13, the Chief Minister said that based on current projections and rate of testing, Maharashtra could have 11.9 lakh active cases by April 30.

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“The biggest concern is Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) supply. The requirement of medical oxygen in the state is crossing the total capacity of 1,200 MT of LMO manufacturing. We have projected the demand will be close to 2,000 MT per day by April-end,” he wrote.

He said the state has started lifting oxygen from nearby locations. It is also mobilising tankers to lift oxygen cylinders from far-off locations.

Also Read |Both jabs and containment: Centre points surge states to UK example

“But some of these areas are located at a distance and face disruption risks… I request you to press in NDMA for this movement and all options, including air-lifting these quantities, be considered,” Thackeray said.

Also Read |Remdesivir short in supply, Pune seeks vials from Mumbai

Welcoming the Union government’s decision to ban the export of remdesivir, he wrote: “I request you to direct authorities to grant compulsory licence as per Section 92 of Indian Patents Act, 1970, which will facilitate approval to these exporting units to produce and sell Remdesivir in domestic market.”

Also Read |Maharashtra: New batch of cops to be trained to handle civil curfew, coordinate with state govt

In another letter, Thackeray requested the Prime Minister to take various measures to provide relief to the people affected by the pandemic. The deadline for submitting GST returns for March and April, he said, should be extended by three months.

He said the pandemic may be notified as a natural calamity and funds from the State Disaster Response Fund be allowed to be used for giving benefits to the affected.

“The state may be allowed to pay gratuitous relief of Rs 100 per adult per day and Rs 60 per child per day during the period of lockdown to all Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority House Hold (PHH) family members, whose names are found in AAY and PHH rations cards,” he said.

Officials said that around 7 crore people, covered under the National Food Security Act, may benefit if the Centre allows the state’s proposal.

Underlining the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on many economic activities, Thackeray also said that bank instalments of the first quarter should be deferred without interest being charged.

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