Procuring oxygen from faraway places a challenge

Procuring oxygen from places thousands of kilometres away from Telangana is fraught with risks that could hamper the supply, senior officials of the Health department said.

They added that there could be multiple problems while procuring oxygen from Bhilai, Madhya Pradesh, which is 1,300 km in a two-way journey. “There could be problems in transportation if a lockdown is announced, or some other unforeseen issue,” the senior officials said.

Besides, insufficient number of tankers to procure it is another problem, but that is being resolved. They said that around 305 metric tonnes of oxygen were being procured currently. But considering the severity of the COVID situation, around 400 metric tonnes of oxygen would be required in the State. This was communicated to the Union Ministry of Health, a few weeks ago.

The State is supposed to get 360 metric tonnes of oxygen, which includes 125 from here and 235 from other States. But only around 180 to 190 metric tonnes is being procured from outside sources.

“Procuring oxygen from far away places has become a challenge. It takes three days to get oxygen from Bhilai, and we don’t have that kind of time in the peak of pandemic,” sources in the Health department said.

Telangana is currently allowed to get oxygen from Bhilai, Bellary (Karnataka), and a place in Odisha. “Bellary is nearest to us and we are allowed to get only 20 metric tonnes from there. But Maharashtra and Karnataka are getting a major share from there. It would be of great help if we get 50% of the requirement from a nearest source like Bellary,” sources said.

Another source said that all means were being explored to get additional tankers. “Nitrogen tankers too, might be converted into oxygen tankers. Many other ways are being explored currently. The issue with tankers would be addressed gradually in three to four days,” sources said.

Sources and Health Minister Eatala Rajender stressed that there was no shortage of oxygen, and Remdesivir, at government hospitals.

While there were only four Liquid Oxygen Tanks (LOT) in government hospitals a year ago, it increased to 22. The LOTs convert liquid oxygen into medical oxygen. Of the 22, five are self-generating LOTs. The one at Gandhi Hospital is expected to be ready in three to four days.

Regarding scarcity of oxygen at private hospitals, officials said that private hospitals rely on bulk oxygen cylinders. Corporate hospitals too, were suggested to build LOT. But only three to four have it.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 5:05:46 AM |

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