Armed Forces Medical Services to procure oxygen plants from Germany

Oxygen tankers being airlifted on IAF C17 aeroplane for refilling of tankers from Angul Rourkela Steel Plant in Odisha, in Hyderabad, Friday, April 23, 2021.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Amid reports of oxygen shortage in hospitals during the second wave of COVID-19 across the country, the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) has decided to import oxygen generation plants and containers from Germany to cater to the shortage, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.

In addition, the Defence Ministry has decided to give extension to Short Service Commissioned Doctors in AFMS till December 31, 2021. “This will augment the strength of AFMS by 238 more doctors,” Defence Minister Rajnath Sigh said on Twitter.

“Twenty-three mobile oxygen generation plants are being airlifted from Germany. These will be deployed in AFMS hospitals catering to the COVID-19 patients,” said Defence Ministry spokesperson A. Bharat Bhushan Babu in statement. “These plants are expected within a week,” he stated.

Mr. Babu said each plant had a capacity to produce 40 litres of oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres an hour at which rate it could cater to 20-25 patients round the clock. “The advantage of these plants is that they are easily portable. A total of 23 such plants are being imported as of now,” he added.

Also read: Army converting its hospital in Delhi to exclusive COVID-19 facility for armed forces personnel, veterans

The Base Hospital in Delhi Cantonment is being converted into a 1,000-bed COVID hospital and should be activated in a week, an Army official said.

Oxygen concentrators

Stating that the mobile oxygen generation plants being procured will be deployed in static hospitals and provide adequate oxygen to the needy, the official added that a large number of oxygen concentrators are also under procurement.

Separately, the Indian Air Force (IAF) has pressed into service transport aircraft and helicopters for carrying out sorties from various parts of the country to airlift oxygen containers, cylinders, essential medicines and equipment required for setting up and sustaining COVID-19 hospitals and facilities. Tasks undertaken include airlift of doctors and nursing staff from Kochi, Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and Bengaluru for various hospitals in Delhi, a second Ministry statement said.

Also read: Amit Shah reviews oxygen shortage in States

“The C-17 and IL-76 aircraft of the IAF have started airlifting big empty oxygen tankers from their place of use to the filling stations across the country to speed up the distribution of much needed oxygen,” the statement said. In addition, these aircraft have transported large quantity of load comprising bio safety cabinets and autoclave machines for setting up an additional COVID-19 test facility at Leh, it added.

Financial powers

To speed up procurements in dealing with raising cases, Mr. Singh has also approved delegation of emergency financial powers to AFMS. As per the orders issued on Friday, the Director General (DG) Medical Services (MS) of three Services have financial powers of up to ₹5 crore, Major General and equivalent up to ₹3 crore and Brigadier and equivalent up to ₹2 crore.

Emergency powers to these lower Competent Financial Authorities have been delegated up to September 30, 2021 with a provision for revision or extension, the Ministry stated.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 7:43:56 AM |

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