Big groups plan O2 storage, transport; PM Cares Fund for 551 plants


As the number of Covid-19 deaths because of the lack of medical oxygen at hospitals mounts, India’s big conglomerates have begun collaborating with the Union government on the production, provide and storage of the fundamental medical resource.

The Tatas, Larsen & Toubro and Bharat Forge on Sunday expressed interest in building pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants at hospital sites, while Indian Oil Corporation and Reliance Industries are pitching in with both oxygen and cryogenic tankers needed for its transportation.

India has also tied up with a few of these companies to import tankers from four destinations — Dubai, Bangkok, Shanghai and Dusseldorf. Four tankers from Singapore bought by the Tatas have already reached Vishakhapatnam on an Indian Air Force plane.

A complete of 262 tankers are expected to be imported. IndianOil plans to fabricate 100 cryogenic tankers at its Nashik facility but the first units from there would be to be had only after three weeks.

So far as oxygen imports go, so far there has only been a firm commitment of 500 tonnes from a Gulf organisation and approximately 3,000 tonnes from other countries against a bid of 50,000 tonnes floated on April 16. “The worrying part is these imports will not come immediately and are priced very high. Probably the most global suppliers are profiting from the scarcity,” said a senior government official.

The government is the use of “linear programming”, an operation research tool, to receive oxygen to cities from their nearest sources. Alternatively, the states are expected to make green corridors to be had.

Blaming the Delhi government for poor planning and people dying in hospitals, a Union government official said that the city had been allotted oxygen for 45 hospitals on Saturday, but the state supplied the oxygen to only 17 hospitals.

The orders for setting up PSAs would be finalised by next Friday since their cost remains a immense challenge because of the non-availability of sure materials. But even so Tatas, L&T and Bharat Forge, approximately 20-30 MSMEs will also be asked to establish these units.

The PM CARES Fund has provided an in-principle approval for the allocation of funds for 551 committed PSAs within public health facilities in the country, according to a government commentary. These committed plants would be set up in identified government hospitals in district headquarters in more than a few states and union territories. The procurement would be done through the Union ministry of health and circle of relatives welfare.

Except IndianOil, which will manufacture cryogenic tankers, RIL has dedicated to underwriting around 54 tankers while the Adani Group will fund 15. “The ownership of the tankers would be with these companies and they could be leased to oxygen suppliers or carry medical oxygen being made by IndianOil and RIL,” said the official.

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