Amidst rampaging coronavirus outbreak in Maharashtra and worsening shortages of hospital beds and medical supplies including oxygen, the state is all set to receive 100 metric tonnes of oxygen from the Reliance Industries’ Jamnagar plant in Gujarat, urban development minister Eknath Shinde said on Tuesday.
The announcement was made by Shinde following a review meeting at the Linde plant in Taloja in Navi Mumbai over the growing demand of oxygen in the metropolitan region and neighbouring Pune.
The Mukesh Ambani controlled Jamnagar refinery in Gujarat has large air separation units for the production of gaseous oxygen. The plant requires massive streams of oxygen for its petroleum coke and coal gasification facilities.
Maharashtra is facing an acute shortage of oxygen because of the rising number of COVID-19 cases. Many people who are severely affected by the coronavirus have dangerously low levels of oxygen and are required to administer with supplemental oxygen.
“The rate of oxygen consumption in the state is increasing as mentioned by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray. We have now made some temporary arrangements wherein we will get 100 MT of oxygen from the Reliance plant in Gujarat,” said Shinde.
Parallelly, a network of nitrogen supplying tankers is used to pick up the slack to ensure there is no logistical issue. All the tankers will be granted sufficient police protection and provided with priority on the roads, Shinde said.
The urban development minister also said that all district collectors have been asked to analyse demand and ensure adequate supply of oxygen based on their requirements.
Besides, instructions are also issued to the administration to make sure that private establishments that supply oxygen to hospitals are asked to augment their capacities in the coming days. In addition, all tankers used to plying nitrogen will be used to transport oxygen from the plants to the hospitals.
Uddhav Thackeray requests PM Modi to provide Air Force assistance to airlift oxygen from neighbouring states
Shinde’s comment came on the day when Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray appealed to Prime Minister Modi to help the state in tackling the growing coronavirus crisis that has overwhelmed the state’s healthcare system and depleted its oxygen reserves for the treatment of people acutely afflicted with COVID-19.
In his press conference on Tuesday, Thackeray declared the imposition of stricter COVID rules to contain the spread of the virus. He also requested the Centre to provide Air Force assistance for the supply of oxygen. During the address, he said, I will speak to the Prime Minister to request him to provide us IAF assistance in the supply of oxygen for medical use from nearby states.