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Medical oxygen: Govt relaxes certain norms to fast track approvals

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New Delhi, May 15: The government on Saturday eases certain norms under Gas Cylinders Rules, 2016 to fast track approvals for imported cylinders and pressure vessels for storage and transportation of medical oxygen amid rising Covid cases.

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The relaxations would be valid for six months or till further orders of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), an official statement said.

The department said that the certification of Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organization (PESO) will not be mandatory before importing consignment of oxygen cylinders, and containers.

The certification of PESO will be required before use of the oxygen cylinders, which entails weight and hydro testing, it added. ''The Indian missions should, however, ensure that the oxygen cylinders should comply with India or international standards before shipment,'' it said.

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In case of filled cylinders, the agency exporting to India would have to certify that the oxygen filled in the cylinder is of such purity and concentration that is fit for medical use. The certification would be attested by the Indian mission in the exporting country and soon upon arrival in India, such filled cylinders will be inspected on sample basis by an empanelled agency of PESO.

''All the filled cylinders must be verified for quality of gas filled therein under the supervision of medical/ Food and Drugs Controllers and if quality of gas conforms to their requirement of medical oxygen, cylinders may be sent directly to hospitals for use,'' the department said.

Regarding PSA (pressure swing adsorption) installations at hospitals with filling facilities or at COVID centres, it said PSA plants where generated oxygen is directly supplied to hospital and no filling of cylinders is taking place, in such cases the facilities do not need any permission or license under PESO rules.

The department instructed that if the PSA is attached with a compressor and filling of oxygen cylinder is to take place, hospitals have to notify it to PESO with certain information like number of cylinders to be stored at site; and number of filling points.

''Any COVID centre may utilise liquid cylinders on board with vaporizer for supplying of gaseous medical oxygen through pipeline or for filling cylinders in open places are permitted'' subject to certain conditions, it said.

Further, it said that in case if consignment of oxygen cylinders, ISO containers or PSA plants or its related equipment have already arrived in India, without taking import permission from PESO, due to an urgency, the filling permission for these cylinders will be issued based on relaxed rules.

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