Even a brief interruption of power supply to oxygen plants can cause a drop in pressure and push back the production process by two to three hours.
Factories producing medical grade oxygen across the country will not get continuous power supply to ensure that production continues without hitches.
The Union Power Ministry will “ensure continuous supply of electricity to medical grade oxygen plants across India” as the country faces a ferocious second wave of coronavirus infections, two government sources told Mint.
The 24x7 power supply is one of many measures aimed at assisting oxygen plants, it said.
Moneycontrol could not independently verify the report.
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State-run Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) has been appointed the nodal agency for monitoring supply to 73 major oxygen plants, the sources added.
The power ministry did not respond to queries, the report added.
R Lakshmanan (IAS), executive director at REC told the paper the government found that one reason affecting oxygen supply was interruption of power supply.
He added that a detailed study and analysis found that technical and non-technical reasons were causing the interruptions. “We are monitoring 73 major medical oxygen plants, wherein a nodal officer each from the plant and the discom have been appointed to ensure round-the-clock electricity availability,” he said.
Other steps include shifting critical portions of power supply cables underground for Linde India’s Selaqui oxygen plant near Dehradun, where the present power lines are often tripped due to bird hits, the sources said.
In fact, power to the plant tripped three times a day in the last 10 days and an audit found that a dump yard near the power lines was attracting birds and causing them to hit the lines.
The entire 4 km ling overhead cable stretch, which was particularly affected, will now be moved underground by Uttarakhand discom.
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Besides this, electricity link to another oxygen plant in Uttar Pradesh will also be recalibrated, they added.
The decision comes after the ministry and state electricity distribution companies (discoms) completed an audit of electricity supply to all oxygen generating plants to ensure “uninterrupted operations”, it added.
The audit was conducted as even a brief interruption of power supply to oxygen plants can cause a drop in pressure and push back the production process by two to three hours.
India has been grappling with a deadly second wave of the coronavirus which has overwhelmed the country’s medical infrastructure – resulting in shortage of beds, oxygen supply and critical medicines. Over the past weeks, many patients lost their lives due to shortage of oxygen supply to hospitals and healthcare facilities.Follow our full COVID-19 coverage here