Tauktae Aftermath: Union Ministers Direct That Pharma Industry And Oxygen Producers Be Given Priority In Transport

by Arun Kumar Das - May 17, 2021 05:09 AM
Tauktae Aftermath: Union Ministers Direct That Pharma Industry And Oxygen Producers Be Given Priority In TransportPrime Minister Narendra Modi with Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal. (Virendra Singh Gosain/Hindustan Times via GettyImages) 
Snapshot
  • In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of continuous availability of oxygen, maintaining buffer stocks of medicines and essential items, and well-being of patients in the areas likely to be affected was stressed in the meeting — chaired by Railway Minister Piyush Goyal and Shipping and Waterways Minister Mansukh Mandaviya.

Firming up an action plan to tackle the situation post-cyclone Tauktae, Union Minister Piyush Goyal has emphasised on giving priority to the pharma industry and oxygen producers to resume operations and asked the Railways to be ready to rush relief materials.

In a meeting with the industry leaders over the likely impact of very severe cyclonic storm Tauktae and preparedness for facing the same, Goyal along with Shipping and Waterways Minister Mansukh Mandaviya took stock of the situation and discussed in detail about the possible steps to mitigate the impact.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the issue of continuous availability of oxygen, maintaining buffer stocks of medicines and essential items, and well-being of patients in the areas likely to be affected was stressed in the meeting.

The meeting, called on the directions of the Prime Minister, was also attended by senior officers of the Indian Meteorological Department, Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Railways, NDMA, and states of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Goa, and UT of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu.

IMD DG informed that Tauktae was very likely to move north-north-westwards and reach Gujarat coast in the evening hours of May 17 and cross Gujarat coast between Porbandar and Mahuva in Bhavnagar district around May 18 early morning, which will lead to winds with the speed of over 150 kmph, heavy rainfall and high tidal waves.

NDMA spoke about its preparedness for the relief and rescue actions to be undertaken in the affected areas, and deployment of various NDRF teams in the region.

Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways spoke about its assessment of the situation and steps being envisaged and taken to deal with it in an effective and timely manner.

The states’ officials informed that the situation was being closely monitored by them, and the administration was geared up to meet the exigencies.

The industry leaders gave certain suggestions, and also spoke about the actions taken by them for mitigation and reducing the impact of the cyclone.

The smooth functioning of communication facilities and other utilities also came up in the meeting.

Goyal said that the views expressed by the industry participants and the State officials show their confidence and readiness in handling such a natural calamity in an effective manner.

He said that power will be the major focus area, as the same has to be switched off due to safety reasons for sometime, but should be restored quickly as per the conditions.

The Minister said that there was merit in making available satellite phones at strategic places, for better communication and expressed satisfaction at the fact that the industry has stored emergency spares and fuel for the duration.

Goyal urged all of them to keep their eyes and ears to the ground, and work in a spirit of cooperation. He said that there could be a surge effect post-cyclone, and hence requested all to keep their eyes and ears to the ground, monitor the situation and support healthcare personnel.

He also stressed that all the people who are involved in the production of liquid medical oxygen, pharmacueticals, and all those who make cylinders or products in the supply chain of the pharma industry will be given priority to come back into operation.

The helplines of various authorities should be up all the time, and respond in a empathetic manner. He directed the Railway authorities to closely monitor the situation and be ready to rush essential items to the affected areas in the shortest possible time.

The Minister said that a 24/7 control room to monitor the cyclone was already functioning while intensive patrolling of assets (OHE & track) has begun.

Railways has also taken several measures to ensure uninterrupted supply of Oxygen. The Minister said that relief material should be properly channelized so that the common man gets the relief and unscrupulous elements do not take advantage of the situation.

He urged all the big industries to look after their local areas to support small industries, suppliers and neighborhood industry associations. Mandaviya said that coastal areas in western India were had a lot of industries and added that the state governments were equipped for relief and rescue operations.

He, however, emphasized on pre-planning and pre-positioning so as to minimize the damage to essential equipment, cargo or people.

Arun Kumar Das is a senior journalist covering railways. He can be contacted at akdas2005@gmail.com.


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