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Amid shortage, Andhra govt ramps up efforts to procure oxygen supply for Covid patients

Two cryogenic containers, each carrying 20 MT of liquid oxygen, have been dispatched from the Durgapur Steel plant in West Bengal, and the train carrying the containers will reach Krishnapatnam in Nellore District by 4 pm Saturday.

Written by Sreenivas Janyala | Hyderabad |
Updated: May 14, 2021 8:52:27 pm
On Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s request, the Centre has allocated 3 ISO (International Organization for Standardization) containers for oxygen transport, which will be handed over at Durgapur Saturday afternoon. (File)

After at least 11 Covid-19 patients died at Ruia Hospital in Tirupati on May 10 due to oxygen shortage, Andhra Pradesh has scaled up its efforts to procure sufficient medical oxygen to meet the requirement. Two cryogenic containers, each carrying 20 MT of liquid oxygen, have been dispatched from the Durgapur Steel plant in West Bengal, and the train carrying the containers will reach Krishnapatnam in Nellore District by 4 pm Saturday.

On Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy’s request, the Centre has allocated 3 ISO (International Organization for Standardization) containers for oxygen transport, which will be handed over at Durgapur Saturday afternoon, and two of the three containers with medical oxygen will start their journey from Durgapur over the weekend.

Another train with 60 MT will start from Durgapur Saturday evening and will come to Nellore in 24 hours. These two trains will run in opposite directions to ensure the assured supply of 60 MT per day to Covid hospitals in Rayalaseema region and Nellore district .

“We are getting one train carrying 6 ISO containers with 110 MT of liquid oxygen from Reliance Industries at Jamnagar in Gujarat. This train is starting Friday evening and will reach AP Concor Railway Station at Guntur on Saturday night. More medical oxygen tankers are on the way to AP and from Saturday hopefully we will have enough oxygen at all Covid hospitals,” said Health Minister A K Krishna Srinivas.

To avoid oxygen shortage in the future, the CM has asked officials to come up with a plan to set up an oxygen plant with 300 tonnes of oxygen production capacity to cater to the needs of Covid-19 patients in the state. “With the current medical oxygen consumption exceeding 600 tonnes per day, a long-term plan is needed for the future. The focus should be on setting up the medical oxygen plant in on a war footing basis,” the chief minister said.

The state has also increased the number of vehicles delivering liquid medical oxygen from 56 to 78. Officials said that 36 vehicles are being used to transport 210 metric tonnes of oxygen per day from various places in Odisha. Of these, four vehicles are being airlifted daily from Vijayawada to Bhubaneswar by Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft. Officials said that 25 oxygen tankers are due to be received by June.

The state government has also decided to float global tenders for procurement of over 3 crore Covid-19 vaccines. According to officials, the state has received 75.49 lakh Covid vaccine doses from the Centre, out of which 62,60,400 doses were of Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin, and 12,89,560 doses of Covishield by Serum Institute of India (SII).

As of May 12, 32,87,607 people have received the first dose and 20,41,377 their second dose. Out of this, at least 26,69,250 people got Covishield and 6,18,360 people received Covaxin as the first dose. For the second dose, 17,35,536 people have received Covishield and 3,05,841 people have got Covaxin.

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