Maha using entire oxygen stock for medical purposes: Tope

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Aurangabad, Apr 12 (PTI) Plants in Maharashtra are producing 1,200 metric tonnes of oxygen per day and the entire stock is being used for medical purposes in view of the rising COVID-19 cases, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Monday.

He also said the central government should provide Maharashtra with 1.60 crore COVID-19 vaccine doses per month.

Talking to reporters in adjoining Jalna district, Tope said the state government has decided to set up plants in hospitals which can separate and purify oxygen from the atmosphere and provide it to patients.

Tope said neighbouring states are not willing to supply liquid oxygen to Maharashtra, which is reeling under a second wave of COVID-19 and has seen a rapid rise in demand for oxygen needed to treat critical patients.

He said, 'Oxygen generating plants in Maharashtra are producing 1,200 metric tonnes of oxygen everyday and we are using it fully for medical purposes.' Now monitoring and proper distribution of oxygen cylinders will be done by government officials, Tope said.

'Oxygen transported in tankers will be filled in cylinders under supervision of officials of district administration and the Food and Drugs Administration,' he said.

'The government plans to establish liquid oxygen tanks at hospitals which have 50-100 beds. This will reduce human efforts to fill cylinders,' Tope said.

The minister said oxygen in the environment can be collected and purified at facilities attached to hospitals and provided to needy patients.

'A 6 by 5 feet high-tech machine can purify oxygen from the air and supply it to a large number of patients. We are thinking of procuring these machines,' he said.

Oxygen, collected from the atmosphere and purified by deploying a special technique, is used by a lot of industries in the country.

Medical-grade oxygen is used for treatment of critical COVID-19 patients and in other cases of respiratory diseases.

Tope said the Centre should provide Maharashtra, the state worst-hit by the pandemic, with 1.60 crore vaccine doses per month.

'Maharashtra is the first state to cross 1-crore vaccination mark. Our health infrastructure is ready for big vaccination and our opposition leaders should help the state in the drive,' Tope said. PTI AW RSY RSY