Representative Image (REUTERS/Mike Blake)
Hours after the Union Health Ministry asked states to make rational use of medical oxygen and ensure that there is no wastage, it is all set to float a tender for import of 50,000 MT of medical oxygen.
The Union Health Ministry has decided to finalise tender for import of the life-saving product and explore possible sources for its import.
"In view of increasing demand for medical oxygen, EG2 (Empowered Group-2) decided to float a tender for import of 50,000 MT of medical oxygen. MOHFW has been directed to finalise the tender for the same and also explore possible sources for import identified by the missions of MEA," the ministry said in a statement.
Covid-19 update | Reliance Industries diverts oxygen produced at its refineries to help battle virus outbreak
"EG2 is monitoring the situation of demand and supply of medical oxygen continuously to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to support the uninterrupted supply of medical oxygen," the statement added.
Apart from this, the ministry said that it has identified 100 hospitals for Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants which manufacture oxygen and help hospitals become self-sufficient in their requirement for medical oxygen.
"As many as 162 PSA plants sanctioned under PM-Cares are being closely reviewed for early completion of 100 percent of the plants to enhance self-generation of oxygen in hospitals especially in remote areas. EG2 directed MOHFW to identify another 100 hospitals in far-flung locations for consideration of sanction for installation of PSA plants," the statement added.
There has been increasing demand for medical oxygen, especially from the 12 states with a high burden of active COVID cases including Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.
While the demand in Maharashtra is expected to go beyond available production capacity of the state, states like Madhya Pradesh do not have any production capacity to meet their demand for medical oxygen. Also, there has been increasing demand in other oxygen-producing states.
To get clarity, the ministry undertook a mapping exercise jointly by DPIIT, Ministry of Steel, various critically affected states, Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO), oxygen manufacturers, and All India Industrial Gas Manufacturers Association (AIIGMA) as per the directions of EG2.
The government said that they indicated 4,880 MT, 5,619 MT and 6,593 MT to 12 states to meet projected demand as on April 20, April 25 and April 30, respectively.
In the wake of increased demand, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Managing Director Mukesh Ambani has decided to divert oxygen produced at the company's refineries to help battle the outbreak which paralysed the financial capital.
RIL has also started supplying oxygen from Jamnagar in Gujarat to Maharashtra at no cost. Maharashtra's Cabinet Minister of Urban Development and PWD Eknath Shinde informed that RIL will provide 100 tons of gas to the state.Disclaimer: Reliance Industries Ltd. is the sole beneficiary of Independent Media Trust which controls Network18 Media & Investments Ltd which publishes Moneycontrol.