The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Saturday announced exempting tankers and containers carrying liquid medical oxygen (LMO) from user fee at toll plazas across national highways. Keeping in view the current unprecedented demand for the medical oxygen across the country due to COVID-19 pandemic, containers carrying LMO will be treated at par with other emergency vehicles such as ambulances for a period of two months or till further orders, NHAI said in a statement.
“In order to provide uninterrupted passage for tankers and containers carrying Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) across national highways, the user fee for such vehicles at toll plazas has been exempted,” NHAI said. Although toll plazas have nearly zero waiting time after implementation of FASTag, NHAI said it is already providing priority passage to such vehicles for quick and seamless transportation of medical oxygen. “Instructions have also been issued by NHAI to all its officials and other stakeholders to assist the government and private efforts to fight the pandemic in helping them in pro-active manner,” it said.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has created huge demand for LMO across the country. “During the ongoing crisis, the timely delivery of LMO to hospitals and medical centres is of paramount importance to save lives of patients critically affected by COVID-19,” NHAI said adding, exemption of payment of user fee at toll plazas will ensure faster movement of medical oxygen on the national highways. India is struggling with a second wave of the pandemic with more than 4,00,000 daily new coronavirus cases being reported in the past few days, and hospitals in several states are reeling under the shortage of medical oxygen and beds.