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Customs authorities rise to the occasion as medical consignments pour in from abroad

Customs authorities are running the extra mile to quickly clear emergency medical equipment to help stressed hospitals that are running out of oxygen supply. Clearance is much faster now, even though many importers say customs procedures remain very cumbersome.

April 27, 2021 / 03:43 PM IST
Representational Image

Representational Image

Customs authorities are clearing desperately needed medical equipment with unprecedented speed to help oxygen-starved hospitals attend to victims of the devastating second wave of the pandemic.

The Delhi airport handled 318 oxygen concentrators that landed in an Air India flight from the United States, which customs authorities say in a record-breaking 20 minutes on April 26.

As a result, medical equipment was unloaded, counted, tagged, checked for damage, sorted into sets, and sent to warehouses for quick dispatch to hospitals facing acute scarcity of oxygen. Delhi customs authorities claim the shipment was cleared within a record 20 minutes after the Air India plane from Atlanta landed and the cargo was unloaded.

While the jury is out on whether the time taken was really that low, Delhi airport authorities agree that even considering emergency clearance norms, the average time now being taken to facilitate the movement of life-saving medical equipment has fallen to levels that were difficult to imagine earlier.