Oxygen concentrators received as foreign aid promptly cleared: Govt

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI:  The Centre on Thursday clarified that no oxygen concentrator received as aid from other countries is lying with the customs authorities at any port of import and insisted that consignments from abroad are being cleared swiftly.

So far, 3,000 oxygen concentrators have been received as global aid to support the central government’s efforts and that of the states in their collective fight against the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, said the Union health ministry in a statement. 

China has sent 1,000 oxygen concentrators, Ireland 700, the UK 669 in four consignments, Mauritius 200, Uzbekistan 151, Taiwan 150, Romania 80, Thailand 30, and Russia 20, the ministry said.  It added that some news reports have claimed that oxygen concentrators are lying at customs warehouses awaiting clearance. “The news is totally incorrect, not based on facts and without any basis.

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs has clarified that there is no such pendency with Indian Customs. The Indian Customs is swiftly clearing all consignments and no such figure of pendency exists across any port of import,” the government maintained.

The Indian Customs is sensitive to the need for availability of Covid-related imports including oxygen and oxygen-related equipment and is working round-the-clock to fast track and clear the goods on arrival expeditiously within hours, the statement said and added that the goods are given high priority for clearance by the customs systems. 

Only this week, the issue of 3,000 oxygen concentrators lying with the customs authorities came up in the Delhi High Court and the government counsel clarified that no such consignment is pending.