Wed, 23 Jun 2021

New Delhi [India], May 9 (ANI): Amid the surge in COVID-19 cases, the first meeting of the 12-member National Task Force set up by the Supreme Court to ensure that medical oxygen is delivered throughout the country in a streamlined manner through an effective and transparent mechanism was held on Sunday, sources said.

"All the National Task Force members commended the significant work done by Ministries and Departments of Government of India in augmenting the oxygen production capacities as well as in ensuring its efficient distribution," sources told ANI.

The task force members also provided specific suggestions on increasing oxygen production and availability, managing the demand side of medical oxygen, and parameters on which individual health facilities could ensure economy in the use of medical oxygen, sources said.

The national task force members include Dr Bhabatosh Biswas, former Vice-Chancellor, West Bengal University of Health Sciences, Kolkata; Dr Devender Singh Rana, Chairperson, Board of Management, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi; Dr Devi Prasad Shetty, Chairperson and Executive Director, Narayana Healthcare, Bengaluru; Dr Gagandeep Kang, Professor, Christian Medical College (CMC), Vellore, Tamil Nadu; Dr J V Peter, Director, CMC; Dr Naresh Trehan, Chairperson and Managing Director, Medanta Hospital and Heart Institute, Gurugram.

The other members of the task force are Dr Rahul Pandit, Director, Critical Care Medicine and ICU, Fortis Hospital, Mulund and Kalyan (Maharashtra); Dr Saumitra Rawat, Chairman and Head, Department of Surgical Gastroenterology and Liver Transplant, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital; Dr Shiv Kumar Sarin, Senior Professor and Head of Department of Hepatology, and Director, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), Delhi; Dr Zarir F Udwadia, Consultant Chest Physician, Hinduja Hospital, Breach Candy Hospital and Parsee General Hospital, Mumbai.

Sources said the Union Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan and Union Secretary (MoRTH) Giridhar Aramane were also present during the meeting.

"As per the directions of the Supreme Court, a few experts can be co-opted. Accordingly, Dr V K Paul, Member (Health), NITI Aayog, Dr Randeep Guleria, Director AIIMS, New Delhi, Dr Balram Bhargava, DG ICMR and Secretary (DHR) and Dr Sunil Kumar DGHS, MoHFW were present as special invitees at the meeting," they said.

"The National Task Force decided to continue its deliberations to arrive at specific recommendations," sources added.

On Saturday, the Supreme Court had set up a National Task Force for an effective and transparent mechanism for allocating medical oxygen in view of a surge in COVID-19 cases in the second wave of the pandemic.

A Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud, constituted the National Task Force to assess the need and recommend the distribution of oxygen in the country. (ANI)

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