Telangana on Monday received five tankers loaded with medical oxygen from Odisha, and despatched them to various hospitals in the state treating Covid-19 patients.
Out of nine empty tankers which were airlifted from Hyderabad to Odisha on Friday, five returned with oxygen from the Rourkela Steel Plant of the Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL).
The tankers were sent to the Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS), the District Hospital, King Kothi, the Chest Hospital and Are Hospital in Cherlappaly, all in and around Hyderabad and to government hospitals in Khammam and Karimnagar.
Four more tankers are expected to reach Hyderabad on Tuesday.
The empty tankers were specially flown to Odisha in two C17 cargo aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) from Begumpet Airport to cut down the travel time by three days. Officials had said they will bring back about 150 tonnes of oxygen to the state.
Telangana Health Minister E. Rajender had said that the airlifting of the tankers to Angul and Rourkela steel plants in Odisha will save three days in transportation.
The Centre had allotted close to 360 tonnes of oxygen to Telangana from 12 steel industries spread across the country. Apart from Odisha, the oxygen was allotted from steel plants located at Hospet and Bellary in Karnataka, and at Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu.
Telangana government had claimed on Sunday that it showed the way to the country by using war planes to airlift oxygen tankers.
Realising that a lot of time would be wasted moving oxygen from distant places through tankers, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao decided to move oxygen cylinders by air.
Telangana claimed that it is the first state in the country to use aircraft to transport oxygen tankers. Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar said for the first time, vacant oxygen tankers were sent by aircraft from Hyderabad or anywhere in the country to another place to save time and lives.
“The Government of India allotted us oxygen at places which are very far off. The tankers take six days. By airlifting the tankers, we will not only be saving three days’ time but we can save many lives,” he said.