Delhi will receive 244 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) on Wednesday and with this, the total amount delivered to the city in 24 hours will be nearly 450 tonnes, the railways said. In a bid to contain the oxygen shortage crisis in the national capital, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will set up five oxygen plants, out of the total 500 planned, in and around Delhi by this weekend, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.
India is struggling with the second wave of the coronavirus infection as hospitals in several states are reeling under a severe shortage of oxygen, drugs, equipment and beds.
‘Oxygen Express’ trains from Hapa in Gujarat and Durgapur in West Bengal delivered 85 tonnes and 120 tonnes of LMO to the national capital on Tuesday morning. The railways said two more trains, one from Mundra in Gujarat and another from Hapa, carrying 140 tonnes and 103.6 tonnes of LMO, respectively, will reach Delhi in the early hours of Wednesday.
“With this, ‘Oxygen Express’ trains would deliver nearly 450 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen to Delhi alone in 24 hours, counting from deliveries that took place in the early hours of today,” it said. The total daily quota of oxygen for the city is 590 tonnes.
So far, the Indian Railways has delivered around 1,585 tonnes of LMO in 103 tankers to various states. Twenty-seven ‘Oxygen Express’ trains have already completed their journey and six more carrying around 463 tonnes of LMO in 33 tankers are on way to their destinations, the railways said. Telangana has received its second ‘Oxygen Express’ carrying 60.23 tonnes of LMO from Angul in Odisha. Lucknow will receive on Tuesday 79 tonnes from oxygen Bokaro in Jharkhand.
Of the 1,585 tonnes, Maharashtra got 174 tonnes, Uttar Pradesh 492 tonnes, Madhya Pradesh 179 tonnes, Delhi 464 tonnes, Haryana 150 tonnes and Telangana 127 tonnes.
Meanwhile, the defence ministry said the plants to be set up by DRDO will be installed at AIIMS Trauma Centre, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML), Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and one at AIIMS, Jhajjar, Haryana," the ministry stated.
The Defence Ministry said that as per its schedule, two of the aforementioned five plants reached Delhi on Tuesday and were being installed at AIIMS and RML Hospitals, respectively. "These two plants have been supplied by Trident Pneumatics Pvt. Ltd., Coimbatore, which is the technology partner of DRDO and has been given an order of 48 plants," it explained. On April 28, the DRDO had announced that it will set up 500 medical oxygen plants within the next three months from the allocation made by the PM Cares Fund.
The DRDO said it had transferred its medical oxygen plant (MOP) technology — developed for on-board oxygen generation in Tejas fighter jet — to Trident as well as Bengaluru-based Tata Advanced Systems Limited so that these two companies can set up a total 380 out of 500 plants. Trident and Tata will install 48 and 332 plants, respectively, it had said. Remaining 120 plants will be set up by industries working with the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun.
The DRDO said, "Order of 332 plants have been placed with Tata Advanced Systems Limited and the delivery will start from mid-May. The delivery schedule is being monitored very closely to deliver before the plants time. Sites are being prepared at each hospital in parallel. In yet another hospital tragedy in the country in recent days, 24 patients, 23 of them COVID-infected, died in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar on Monday due to alleged oxygen shortage in the district hospital.
On Saturday, 12 COVID-19 patients, including the HoD of the gastroenterology department of Batra Hospital in Delhi, died allegedly due to oxygen shortage. India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has crossed the 2-crore mark with over 50 lakh infections being added in just 15 days.
The total tally of coronavirus cases in the country mounted to 2,02,82,833 with 3,57,229 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 2,22,408 with 3,449 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.