As COVID cases in India continue the steep climb, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s promise of achhe din is far from the country’s reality.
The acute oxygen shortage, as well as dire paucity of medical infrastructure and medicines to support COVID patients has been widely criticised as a misgiving of the present BJP-led government.
In an interview with Moneycontrol dated 20 April, Siddharth Jain, Director of Inox Air Products, stated that the current demand for oxygen in India is 5,000 metric tonnes per day (MTPD). The current manufacturing capacity in India is 7,200 MTPD.
In the interview, he stated that if the cases increase to 5,00,000 per day, “we could have a problem”.
The problem is already here, and it’s a nightmare. With oxygen tank leaks in one state, and a serious shortage in the other, dealing with COVID has been not been a smooth ride.
Jain, in his interview, further stated that Inox’s current capacity is 2,300 MTPD and that it had also lined up additional funds to set up eight new plants across the country to meet the growing demand.
A COVID-19 patient with mild symptoms will consume 2-4 litres of oxygen per minute. A patient with moderate symptoms will consume 4-8 litres per minute and a patient with severe symptoms will consume 8-15 litres per minute.
It is important to note that a COVID-19 patient is usually admitted for a minimum of 5-6 hours and their stay at a hospital can be extended to several days based on the severity of their symptoms.
With hospitals continuously running short of medical oxygen supply, what’s the PM’s game plan to curb this?
New Delhi hospitals have been witnessing an unprecedented oxygen-supply shortage since COVID-19 cases started spiking in the country early this month. With oxygen supplies depleting by the minute, Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal at a press conference on 22 April stated that the UT required 700 tonnes of medical oxygen every day to sustain the demand.
Its currently being supplied with only 480 tonnes of the life-saving gas. Which means several hospitals will continue to face a shortage in the coming days.
To solve this, the Indian Railways has joined hands with Inox to ensure oxygen reaches different parts of the country through the new “Oxygen Express” trains.
The service was announced by Railways Minister Piyush Goyal on 18 April and a ramp was built by the Central Railway at Kalamboli overnight to facilitate loading of the roll-on/roll-off oxygen trucks on the trains.
But are these efforts enough to get us riding past the second wave on the other side?
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