Condition of GMCH oxygen storage tank ‘worsening’, Chandigarh yet to act on reminders

On the alternative options at the hospital, a senior officer asserts that the hospital has only 180 cylinders that would last only four to five hours.

Written by Adil Akhzer | Chandigarh | Updated: January 6, 2016 4:12:50 am

THE GOVERNMENT Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Sector 32, is on the brink of a disaster, as the public health wing of the UT’s engineering department is yet to replace the existing 3,600L oxygen storage tank despite several reminders sent by the hospital that the tank has developed leakage over the years, and it can lead to a major disaster.

The condition of the existing oxygen storage which was installed in 1996 is “worsening” with each passing day. In 2013, the hospital authorities approached the UT Administration about the issue, and an approval was given for installation of a new storage tank in January 2014. The tank was estimated to cost Rs 64 lakh.
The oxygen tank supplies oxygen to all the critical areas of the hospital, including Intensive Care Unit, operation theatres and wards as well.

On the alternative options at the hospital, a senior officer asserts that the hospital has only 180 cylinders that would last only four to five hours. “The hospital had sent several warnings to them (public health wing), but nothing has been done,” the official said.

Director Principal, GMCH-32, Atul Sachdeva is hopeful that the tank will be replaced soon. “They had some technical issues, but it has been sorted out now,” he told Chandigarh Newsline. “They haven’t indicated the time frame when the storage tank would be replaced.”

A letter sent by the hospital recently to the UT Administration said that “over the years (it) has developed leakage with rusting of valves and inlets and outlets…”
The letter, accessed by Chandigarh Newsline, said that almost two years after the approval, “nothing concrete has been done yet. Regular reminders are sent time to time… but no response has been received”.

The letter said that the situation was getting worse in the existing tank, which could lead to a major disaster. “The valves and gauges have further worn out and same can come to a standstill anytime. Hence, if anytime the leakage from the tank got aggravated, it can lead to a major disaster in the hospital for the lives of approximately 800 patients,” the letter said. “… it is requested that process regarding providing and fixing of new cryogenic storage tank of 12000 ltr (12kl) in GMCH, Sector 32, may be expedited before it leads to a disaster in the hospital.”

When contacted, Amin Chand, executive engineer, UT public health wing, said that the case “is in process and the file is with the superintendent engineer”. When asked why this delay of two years, Chand disconnected the call.

UT Health Secretary Anurag Aggarwal said that he was unaware of the case. “I will direct the officials concerned to take steps in this regard,” he told Chandigarh Newsline.

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