Indore: When the nation is battling the deadly second wave of the coronavirus, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has been pressed into service for transporting essential medical supplies and oxygen to hospitals amid the ongoing shortage. An IAF C-17 transport plane on Friday carried an empty oxygen tanker from Indore in Madhya Pradesh to Jamnagar in neighbouring Gujarat, an official said here. After refilling, the 30 metric tonne-capacity tanker will return to Indore by road, he said, adding that the entire process will save up to 12 hours of time. The IAF plane landed at Indore airport at 3:15 pm and left for Jamnagar with the tanker soon after,” the official said. The official said that the height of the oxygen tanker posed some problems initially but the oxygen was refilled after continuous efforts of the jawans. The airlifting of empty tankers to oxygen filling sites using IAF planes was started after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan urged the Union government to help his state fight a surge in COVID-19 cases, he said. As the rear portion of the tanker could not enter the plane’s cargo hold properly, the tanker’s mudguard was removed, said Indore airport director Aryama Sanyal. The aircraft will return to Indore on Saturday to transport another empty tanker, Sanyal added. Rohan Saxena, the district official overseeing the operation, said an oxygen tanker takes 20 hours to reach Jamnagar from Indore by road, while the plane will cover the distance in an hour. Madhya Pradesh on Friday recorded 13,590 coronavirus cases, 1,206 more than on Thursday. The IAF on Friday tweeted that its C-17 and IL-76 aircraft airlifted empty oxygen containers for refiling across the country. The state also received a huge consignment of Remdesivir injections and vials amid an acute shortage of medical essentials. Indore received 69 Remdesivir injections and 24 vials of the antiviral drug. Apart from these, Indore Medical college received 25 boxes of Remdesivir injections and 25 vials, 7 boxes to Khandwa Medical College and 37 boxes to the Indore health department. Cities like Bhopal, Gwalior, Sagar, Ujjain, Rewa and Jabalpur also received their respective consignment of Remdesivir injections and vials via IAF.