The demand for medical oxygen in India has jumped manifold amidst the more virulent second wave of Covid-19. Several states have raked the issue of lack of oxygen supplies and pinned the blame on the Centre for the crisis. Amongst all such states, Delhi has been at the forefront of playing the blame game.
For all this while, Delhi had been harping that the state has been receiving Oxygen way below its quota. Until May 12, the AAP govt was whining that it should be getting 976 MT of Oxygen per day, though it was allocated 730 MT of oxygen. This went on until the Supreme Court ordered an audit of oxygen used by various states, which the Delhi govt was vehemently opposing in the court.
No sooner did the SC order an oxygen audit than Delhi rushed to admit that they have access supply of the same and also offered to give the surplus oxygen to the States who need it. Its oxygen demand magically dropped to 582 MT per day despite the number of active Covid-19 cases dropping only marginally.
Later it was also revealed that Delhi’s actual demand was much less than what the Kejriwal government was demanding, and they had to ask the suppliers to take back oxygen and store it in their tanks as Delhi hospitals don’t have large storage tanks to keep the excess oxygen.
Inox Air products director Siddharth Jain says Delhi wasn’t organising the logistics and was just complaining
While all the information available until now is more than enough to believe that despite the Kejriwal Government blaming the centre, it is more of its own shortcomings which have led to the oxygen crisis in the national capital, Siddhart Jain, the director of INOX Air Products has also affirmed the same.
Speaking to Quartz, Jain said that, unlike other states, Delhi was not arranging for logistics to call for the oxygen to the state, instead just complaining. “It was only later after a lot of pressure was put on them, they started moving it”, said Jain explaining how it is the job of the state, not the center, to organize the logistics and get the allocated product.
Clearing the air on India’s current oxygen crisis, the supply chain issues and the central and state government’s role, Jain said that it is not the union government’s job to pick up the oxygen and deliver it to end locations.
“It is not their job to go to Odisha, pick up the oxygen and come to Mumbai and pour it in a tank. What do the states exist for? What is their job? It is the job of the state to go and organise the logistics and go and get the allocated product”, said the Inox director.
AAP Govt only one complaining about supply issues, Jain
Here it is important to mention hat Delhi is supplied oxygen by 4 suppliers, Inox, Linde, Air Liquide and Goyal Gases.
Jain reiterated here that the Delhi government is the only one complaining about supply issues and doing nothing to resolve it. Breaking down information for a layman, Jain said that there are only 70 plants that manufacture oxygen in India. He said that the central government’s job is to inform these manufacturers to produce a certain amount of oxygen. The Center formed a committee to approve the oxygen demand by the states and a chart that was made for each state with a name and an allocation volume.
Here, he said that the role of the central government ends and that of the state begins. It is the job of the state government’s to arrange for logistics to make sure the supplies reach to them in the stipulated time, which unfortunately the Kejriwal government failed to do, confirmed Siddharth Jain.
Speaking about the logistical challenges, Jain rued that India has only 1,170 cryogenic transportation tankers out of which Inox has 320. “India has only 70 oxygen plants and these 1,170 containers were moving the entire production of oxygen. Earlier, out of 100 tankers that we would manufacture only 15 were going to medical, and 85 were going to industry. So all our plants are located in areas very close to industry, and not in the most densely populated areas where there are hospitals. But now, there is a requirement for oxygen everywhere. So we needed to transport these tankers to the entire country”, explained Jain.
Jain added that the production of medical oxygen has been ramped up in his plant, He said that his company has set up a new plant and also made investments in technological innovation inside their existing plants to increase its capacities. They have also reduced the capacity of some other gases that they make, such as nitrogen and argon, and are using those capacities to increase oxygen production.
While AAP Govt whines, data reveals Delhi returning oxygen to suppliers due to storage constraints
Meanwhile, while Delhi continues to bicker and indulge in petty politicking over oxygen, vaccination and other medical supplies, it has been cleared that in the last 10 days, Delhi received 530 MT of oxygen per day on average. But given the fact that the AAP govt returned 74 MT on 9th May and later asked the companies to store around 100 MT in their tanks, it means that the actual demand in Delhi is less than 500 MT. This means the union govt’s estimate of Delhi’s demand was correct and the Delhi govt was demanding 700 MT despite using less than 500 MT per day.