In a first, Telangana uses IAF aircraft to airlift oxygen

Health Minister, Eatala Rajender and Chief Secretary, Somesh Kumar oversaw the loading of empty oxygen trucks into an army cargo aircraft at old Begumpet airport.

By   |  Published: 23rd Apr 2021  12:32 pmUpdated: 24th Apr 2021  12:24 am

Hyderabad:  In a move aimed at ensuring adequate oxygen supply for Covid-19 patients in the State, Telangana on Friday became the first State to fly oxygen tankers to Odisha to fill them, thus cutting travel time by three crucial days.

Health Minister Eatala Rajender, stating that Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao had given instructions to explore every possible course of action to improve healthcare facilities for Covid-19 patients, as part of which two cargo aircraft of the Indian Air Force were roped in to transport empty oxygen tankers to the Rourkela Steel Plant of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) in Odisha.

Nine oxygen tankers were loaded in the two C17 cargo aircraft of the IAF to fly to Odisha on Friday, to bring back nearly 150 metric tonnes of oxygen by April 27.


“These tankers will be filled up with oxygen from the Rourkela Steel Plant in Odisha and will return to Telangana by road by April 27. By using the aircraft, we have reduced the travel time by at least three days,” Rajender said.
On Friday, Rajender along with Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar and Health Secretary Syed Ali Murtaza Rizvi visited the Begumpet airport to oversee the loading of oxygen tankers in the cargo aircraft.

“From day one, when the first Covid case was reported, the State government gave utmost value to human lives and was ready to incur any kind of expenditure to save Covid patients. Anticipating a rise in Covid cases and demand for oxygen, in the last one year we have established liquid oxygen tanks in 22 Government hospitals across the State. This has helped to ensure there is no shortage of oxygen in government hospitals across Telangana,” Rajender said in a press release.


Earlier, IT Minister K T Rama Rao tweeted, congratulating the efforts of Rajender and Somesh Kumar for taking up the initiative. “My compliments to both Health Minister Eatala Rajender and Chief Secretary Somesh Kumar who are supervising oxygen tankers airlifting from Hyderabad to Odisha to bring back oxygen faster to Telangana, saving 3 days and many valuable lives. First time in India,” he tweeted.


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