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Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Gujarat: Covid-hit Morbi gets 30 MT oxygen refilling plant

The plant, which has been set up by repurposing a cryogenic tank meant for storing liquefied natural gas (LNG), has come up within a week.

By: Express News Service | Rajkot |
Updated: May 2, 2021 9:47:16 pm
Gujarat Morbi covid oxygen newsSo far, Morbi district had only one oxygen refilling plant at Rajpar village, and going to places like Kutch and Bhavnagar meant need for more oxygen cylinders. (Express File/Nirmal Harindran)

AN OXYGEN refilling plant, set up by the Morbi Ceramics Association (MCA), became operational Sunday, providing a much-needed boost to the supply of the life-saving gas in Morbi, among the worst Covid-19 affected districts in Saurashtra.

The plant, which has been set up by repurposing a cryogenic tank meant for storing liquefied natural gas (LNG), has come up within a week. It has a capacity to handle 30 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen every day and meet need of the entire Morbi district.

“Situation is bad in Morbi and Covid-19 patients need oxygen. There is not a single oxygen generation plant in the district and, therefore, patients and hospitals here had to go as far as Kutch and Bhavnagar to get medical oxygen. To overcome this situation, MCA proposed to set up this plant by repurposing an LNG tank installed at Acer Granito, a ceramic factory in Lakhdhirpur village near Morbi town. Rajkot MP Mohan Kundariya assured to get government approvals for this plant at the earliest. Therefore, we installed additional machinery at the cost of around Rs 50 lakh and purchased 1,000 jumbo oxygen cylinders at Rs 1.5 crore. The plant became operational after Reliance gave us liquid oxygen,” Nilesh Jetpariya, president of wall tiles division of MCA, told The Indian Express. Acer Granito is owned by Kundariya.

As part of the project, the Dharmesh Jobanputra, partner of Trinity Engtech, a Rajkot-based private engineering firm, repurposed the LNG storage tank into a liquid oxygen storage tank. They then installed a cryogenic pump and high-pressure vapouriser to convert liquid oxygen into vapour and installed a cylinder refilling system.

The plant can refill up to 1,000 cylinders of 57 cubic metres capacity each, Jetpariya said.

So far, Morbi district had only one oxygen refilling plant at Rajpar village, and going to places like Kutch and Bhavnagar meant need for more oxygen cylinders. “But these cylinders are in short-supply. Now, that this new plant has become operational, the need of cylinders would be reduced to half as cylinders can be transported to this plant in smaller batches and can be refilled in much shorter time,” Kundariya said.

The MP adding Union Railways Minister Piyush Goyal helped get necessary clearances Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and the Food and Drug Control Authority of Gujarat.

“Reliance will supply 4 MT liquid oxygen to his plant every day. That would be around one-fourth of 18 MT of liquid oxygen we are getting daily against the requirement of around 20 MT. This plant will cater to dedicated covid heal centres (DCHCs) and Covid care centres (CCCs) which have beds and provide oxygen support,” Ketan Joshi, resident additional collector of Morbi, said.

Joshi said that Morbi districts has 1,034 oxygen beds and 45 ICU beds. Of the oxygen beds, only 42 beds were available while the rest were occupied as of Sunday noon. “We have deputed a deputy mamlatdar at this new refilling plant in Lakhdhirpur. He would monitor refilling and supply of cylinders to CCCs and DCHCs,” Joshi said.

On Sunday, the district reported 90 fresh cases of Covid-19 infection, taking the number of active cases to 791 and total cases of infection to 5,369. So far, 79 patients have succumbed to the infection.

Jobanputra said he used his contacts among traders’ community to source the cryogenic pump from Vadodara and vapouriser from Halalo within a few hours and installed them in Lakhdhirpur by working round the clock.

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