UPDATE: Railways has sent a clarification that it has no plans to set up an oxygen manufacturing unit in Bhopal as of now. Click here for the detailed story.
After starting the Oxygen Express, the Indian Railways is planning to set up an oxygen manufacturing unit at Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.
The Indian Railways has agreed to come up with a 1000-cylinder-per-day oxygen manufacturing unit in Bhopal that may help Madhya Pradesh in overcoming the shortage of oxygen in the Bhopal area.
After that, the state plans to have eight more 1,000-cylinder plants in various parts. The current requirement of oxygen in Madhya Pradesh is 400 metric tonnes per day (MTPD), while it produces only 65 MTPD.
“The Indian Railways will come up with a 1,000-cylinder-per day unit in Bhopal. PESO is ready to give the clearance within a day, once they apply for it. The Railways will take only seven days to come up with the plant after the clearances are in place,” said Waji Ud Din, deputy chief controller of explosives and the oxygen nodal officer for PESO in Madhya Pradesh. A plant that can supply 24 cylinders of gas per day costs around Rs 33 lakh.
To meet the shortfall, Madhya Pradesh is depending on Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Gujarat.
“It is difficult to manage, but we are managing. We have stocks only for a day now. There is no need to import. We have enough oxygen in India to manage it,” he said.
More COVID care coaches
The Railways has lined up nearly 4,000 COVID care coaches across the country, with 64,000 beds. In Delhi, 50 coaches (with 800 beds) are deployed at the Shakurbasti station (four patients are currently admitted) and 25 coaches (with 400 beds) are available at Anand Vihar Terminal.
At Nandurbar (Maharashtra), 21 coaches (with 378 beds) are positioned. Currently, 55 patients are admitted to this facility. At Bhopal station, 20 coaches have been positioned, and 50 coaches are being readied for deployment in Punjab and 20 coaches positioned for deployment in Jabalpur.
On demand from state governments, these isolation centres will cater to the needs of patients with mild and moderate symptoms.
Oxygen Express service
On April 25, the Indian Railways had said that it will deliver more than 140 MT liquid oxygen within 24 hours. So far, Oxygen Express has run between Mumbai and Vizag via Nagpur to Nashik and Lucknow to Bokaro and back. A total of 10 containers, having nearly 150 tonnes of liquid oxygen, have been carried so far.
For delivering more liquid medical oxygen to Maharashtra, the Indian Railways has planned to transport oxygen from Jamnagar to Mumbai and for Nagpur/Pune from Vizg/Angul.
Indian Railways has also mapped the route from Angul to Secunderabad to deliver liquid medical Oxygen for Telangana. For Andhra Pradesh, the Indian Railways has planned to transport liquid medical oxygen from Angul to Vijayawada. For Madhya Pradesh, Indian Railways has mapped the route from Jamshedpur to Jabalpur.Liquid oxygen, being a cryogenic cargo, has many limitations like the maximum speed at which it can be carried, maximum acceleration and deceleration and loading restrictions like availability of tankers and loading ramps.