The installation of medical oxygen plants at the AIIMS and the Ram Manohar Lohia (RML) hospital here has already started and is likely to be completed by Tuesday night, according to the Union health ministry. With the piping connection and testing ensured through a dry run scheduled for Wednesday, the two plants will start functioning latest by Wednesday evening, it said.
In view of an unprecedented surge in the number of daily COVID-19 cases, the requirement of oxygen, oxygen-supported beds and ICU beds has increased manifold. The matter of ensuring adequate and uninterrupted supply of oxygen for an effective clinical management of the severe COVID-19 patients receiving medical care in the central government hospitals in New Delhi was reviewed by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan at a high-level meeting on April 23.
It was decided that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) would install five PSA oxygen plants at the AIIMS Trauma Centre, RML Hospital, Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and AIIMS, Jhajjar, Haryana. The installation of the plants is being funded by PM-CARES. In order to tackle the high surge in COVID-19 cases and the subsequent oxygen shortage, PM-CARES has allocated funds for the installation of 500 medical oxygen plants across the country. These plants are planned to be set up within three months, the ministry said in a statement.
The order for the installation of the medical oxygen plants was placed on April24. Within a week, the first two plants were airlifted from the manufacturing unit of Trident Pneumatics Private Limited (the technology partner of the DRDO that has got the order for 48 plants) in Tamil Nadu’s Coimbatore. The plants reached Delhi on Tuesday.
The installation work has commenced at AIIMS and RML Hospital on a war footing. These medical oxygen plants are based on the indigenous Zeolite technology and designed for a flow rate of 1,000 litres per minute (LPM).
The system caters to 190 patients at a flow rate of 5 LPM or charge 195 cylinders per day. The medical oxygen plant (MOP) technology has been developed by the DRDO based on the on-board oxygen generation for LCA, Tejas. These plants will overcome the logistics issues of oxygen transportation and help the COVID-19 patients in an emergency. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has also ordered 120 medical oxygen plants through its industries, the statement said. India has been leading the fight against the coronavirus pandemic through a “whole of government” and “whole of society” approach, where several ministries, departments and organisations of the central government are collaborating with the states and Union territories to overcome the challenge.