Since the surge in Covid-19 cases in India amidst the second wave of infection, the demand for medical oxygen has increased by several folds. The government of India is working extensively to increase production in the country. According to the government’s data, the production of medical oxygen has risen by 500% since February 2021.
The medical oxygen supply has been increased by nearly four times from 1,273 MT/day in the last week of February 2021 to 4,739 MT/day on 17th April 2021: Government Sources— ANI (@ANI) April 20, 2021
In the first week of February, per day average production of medical oxygen was at 1308 MT across the country. On April 17, India produced 7755 MT of oxygen, out of which 4,739 MT was supplied for medical use, and the rest was supplied to the industries, which is almost four times the supply in February. According to the reports, the government is planning to allocate 6,000 MT of oxygen for medical use by the end of the week. It will be an increase of around 25% from the current supply for medical purposes, especially for the Covid-19 patients.
The government of India has restricted the supply of oxygen to industries excluding nine essential segments, including cylinder suppliers, pharma sector, steel plants and oil refineries. By restricting industrial use of oxygen, the supply to Covid centres has increased exponentially in the last few weeks.
50,000 MT oxygen production to begin soon
The government of India has already floated tenders to award a contract to import 50,000 MT of oxygen in the country. In a recent report, the Times of India quoted an unnamed source and said that the government is speeding up the process to award the contract. Simultaneously, fast-track installation of oxygen concentrators in hospitals based on the technology developed by the Indian Institute of Petroleum and Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute is also under process. Such installations can be completed in four to five weeks.
Government officials working irrespective of health concerns
Government sources inform that many government personnel themselves have been infected with the Chinese coronavirus, but those with mild symptoms have been working remotely from home in the coordination.
The sources told OpIndia that the government officials are working day and night to chalk out plans to increase the production of medical oxygen in the country and supply it to the various states where cases are rising, including Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi and more. The oxygen supply is based on a dynamic method rather than a fixed number to ensure every state gets the necessary supply of medical oxygen.
Though the demand has risen sharply in the last couple of weeks as India has reported over 2,50,000 cases in a single day, the supply for the same has increased as well. States like Uttar Pradesh are also working on installing oxygen production plants across the state. Corporates including Reliance Industries, Tata Steel, Jindal Steel, ArcelorMittal Nippon Steel, and SAIL have announced that they will provide oxygen for Covid-19 patients that have improved the situation. Under the PM Cares fund, around 100 hospitals will get their own oxygen plants soon. Currently, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan are the top states with maximum Covid-19 cases in the country.