To prepare for a probable third wave of the coronavirus, the Delhi government has requested proposals for the installation of oxygen production units in health care institutions and the purchase of cryogenic tankers. The deadline for applications is September 16.
The proposals are being accepted under the “Medical Oxygen Production Promotion Policy,” which seeks to provide incentives to the private sector for the establishment of production plants and storage facilities to assist enhance the availability of life-saving gas in the national capital. This initiative seeks to make Delhi self-sufficient in the generation of medical oxygen in the future to address any crisis or medical emergency.
The government intends to build liquid oxygen production plants with a capacity of at least 50 metric tonnes per unit. The overall capacity aimed for is 100 MT. It also aims to build non-captive oxygen generating facilities (PSA/Air Separation Unit technology) with a minimum capacity of 10 MT and a maximum capacity of 50 MT, until a total capacity of 100 MT is reached.
According to the policy paper, power subsidies would be provided to liquid medical oxygen (LMO) generating plants and non-captive oxygen generation plants at a rate of Rs 4 per unit used in the manufacturing process for the first five years from the date of commercial production. Within a month of its activation, liquid oxygen production plants and non-captive oxygen generating plants will get full reimbursement of gross State Goods and Services Tax (SGST).
The strategy also encourages the private sector to put up PSA/ASU plants with a minimum capacity of 500 LPM (liters per minute) in hospitals and nursing homes to meet peak demand for medical oxygen, as well as LMO storage tanks with a minimum capacity of 10 MT.
In April and May, hospitals in the capital sent out SOS calls to authorities to replace their decreasing supply, resulting in a severe scarcity of oxygen. Several private healthcare institutions even asked that their patients be relocated by the government.
On April 23, about 21 severely sick COVID-19 patients died as a result of an oxygen deficit at Jaipur Golden Hospital in northwest Delhi. On May 1, eight people died at Batra Hospital in Tughlakabad Institutional Area owing to a lack of oxygen. To avoid a repetition of the oxygen crisis, the municipal administration is constructing oxygen production facilities and expanding hospital beds to handle 37,000 patients per day in the event of a third wave.