Oxygen cylinders seized amid shortage at Hyderabad Covid hospitals

Hyderabad, July 11: Amid shortage of oxygen cylinders in hospitals for Covid-19 patients, Hyderabad police seized 29 oxygen cylinders and busted two gangs who were hoarding them.

The Commissioner’s Task Force (West) on Friday raided a house in Seven Tombs area and seized 29 cylinders. A man was arrested.

Exploiting the situation caused by shortage of oxygen, the accused were reportedly selling each oxygen cylinder for Rs 1 lakh. They were also supplying the cylinders to a few hospitals.

Police said the accused were selling the oxygen cylinders without a valid license issued by the Drug Control Authorities and the Controller of Explosives. A case was filed at the Golconda police station.

“Hoarding, illegal buying or selling of oxygen cylinder is a crime. One person is arrested and sent to jail from 7 Tombs area. 29 oxygen cylinders were seized from him. All concerned are warned that cases under Explosive Act & Disaster Management Act will be booked for such acts,” Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anjani Kumar tweeted on Saturday.

According to P. Radha Kishan Rao, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Task Force, this is the second incident in the city within four days.

Earlier, police arrested a person at Gowliguda and seized three oxygen cylinders from him.

The police official said the police teams were gathering information about persons who were illegally dealing in the sale of oxygen cylinders.

The DCP said action would be taken against all those trading and storing medical oxygen without licenses from different agencies.

The police launched a crackdown amid reports of shortage of oxygen in hospitals treating Covid-19 patients.

Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar, at a meeting on Friday, reviewed the supply of oxygen to the hospitals in the state.

In view of certain complaints being received regarding black marketing of oxygen cylinders, it was decided that joint teams of officers comprising Drug Control Administration, Task Force of Hyderabad city police, Director of Public Health and Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives will inspect hospitals and dealers to assess whether sale and utilisation of oxygen cylinders has been in conformity with the guidelines. The teams will initiate prosecution in case any violation of rules is noticed.

“It was decided to advise all the hospitals which are treating Covid-19 patients to migrate to cryogenic liquid oxygen tanks/vessels in order to avoid any likelihood of bottlenecks due to usage of cylinders. It was reiterated that traders who are holding the stock of oxygen cylinders shall possess license from PESO, failing which they will also be prosecuted under Explosives Act,” said an official release.

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