With India’s capacity to produce medical oxygen increased by 300%, the Government of India is taking steady steps to increase the capacity further and mitigate any shortage of demand.
For the same, the Centre has given a nod to the state of Uttar Pradesh government for setting up new oxygen plants in 37 districts. Post-approval, the Yogi Adityanath government has directed its officials to start preparations for setting up these plants at the earliest.
With 743 tonnes of oxygen being made available, efforts are on to take it up to 800 tonnes per day, said Uttar Pradesh CM Adityanath.
“We are working to improve the availability of oxygen. Seven institutes like IIT-Kanpur, BHU, IIM-Lucknow, AKTU, MMTU Gorakhpur and Moti Lal Nehru Regional Engineering College Prayagraj, have been asked to carry out an oxygen audit in districts,” he added.
“They will look at the demand and supply in each district, number of beds available in all the hospitals, oxygen supplied etc. This will help us gauge the exact demand in the state and where we need to focus the resources,” the CM informed.
Enhancing infrastructural capabilities
The CM also informed that the Railways and the Air Force have been assisting the state by airlifting empty oxygen tankers and the Oxygen Express bringing them back after refills.
A government spokesperson apprised of the arrangements made and informed that 4,370 oxygen concentrators have been made available to all districts with each community health centre being equipped with 20 concentrators.
Growth in medical oxygen production capacity
The excess demand for medical oxygen was unprecedented as even during the peak of the first COVID-19 wave in India, maximum demand was not more than 3,000 tonnes a day.
To bridge the gap, India’s corporate giants have pitched in to help increase the production capacity with the Reliance Group, Tata Steels, Jindal and AMNS producing medical oxygen and offering additional infrastructure to support the same.
The Government of India, in fag end of April gave in-principle approval for allocating funds to install 551 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants and procuring 1 lakh oxygen concentrators for supply to high-burden states across the nation from the PM Cares Fund.
As of date, medical oxygen availability has increased to 9,200 tonnes a day and attempts are being made to increase it further.