It was ‘India in Motion’ throughout O2 disaster: Oxygen empowered group convener | India Information

After preventing a troublesome battle of second wave when demand for medical oxygen elevated exponentially, the nation is on the brink of face any such problem in future by rising capability to speed up manufacturing and transportation of medical oxygen. Convener of Empowered Group on Oxygen & street transport and freeway secretary Giridhar Aramane spoke to TOI concerning the plans.
Whereas the Covid caseload has decreased in city areas, there are considerations regarding rural areas and we have to be ready for the long run. What’s the authorities’s plan?
Medical oxygen provide has been a really delicate situation. The federal government has given a variety of thought whereas deciding how to make sure that all sufferers obtain all medical provides together with oxygen. That’s why an empowered group was constituted and the federal government gave all of the powers to acquire oxygen with none delay. So, the primary process was to extend the provision.
Elementary financial legislation says when provide will increase, routinely the clamour for hoarding will come down. The federal government focused on making certain availability of enough amount and several other measures had been taken. The primary was, working all of the liquid oxygen vegetation to their full capability. Second was rising the capability by technical enchancment; like some producers made some brief time period enchancment to the know-how and caused 5-10% improve in manufacturing. One or two vegetation had been commissioned within the final one yr.
Capability of Reliance Industries went up from 300 to 1,000 tonnes a day. The opposite essential factor was working all these vegetation at their most capability. They had been producing 25-30% above their precise capability. Third essential measure was that the federal government realised that some areas don’t have any oxygen vegetation. So, underneath the PM Cares fund, 162 PSA vegetation had been sanctioned.
By now now we have put in 102 of them and the remaining will likely be put in and commissioned within the subsequent one month. One other 1,051 PSA vegetation underneath the PM Cares fund have been accepted. So, each district will get a minimum of one and a few will get a couple of.
This complete system will create capability for producing one other 2,500 tonnes of medical oxygen. Some prime firms are manufacturing these vegetation. Our whole capability after set up of those vegetation will go as much as round 12,500 tonnes per day, which was barely round 6,000 tonnes final yr.
What’s the plan for assembly calls for in rural areas?
Rural areas additionally want medical oxygen and now we have to produce this in a distinct method. We are able to’t put such PSA vegetation in 50 bedded or 30 bedded well being centres. There, we must provide by means of cylinders. Final yr the federal government procured round 7 lakh cylinders and distributed them all through the nation. The entire cylinder out there has gone up from 4.5 lakhs to 11 lakhs within the final one yr. One other 1.27 lakh are being distributed to states and orders have been positioned for 1.5 lakh extra cylinders. Aside from cylinders the federal government can be procuring oxygen concentrators for delicate and average sufferers underneath PM Cares funds. This will likely be helpful in smaller places.
There are some inputs that non-public hospitals are usually not eager to place PSA vegetation for sure pursuits. How is the federal government coping with this?
My data is that even non-public hospitals are very concerned about having these vegetation as a result of they’ve realized that in a disaster having some in-house capability will assist, if not for 500 beds. Large hospitals might have a minimum of these vegetation to cater to ICU necessities that may be sure that they’ve emergency provide. So, in a method that may guarantee a rise in availability and the requirement for transportation and logistics can even scale back. What the federal government has accomplished is it has created a provide system for PSA vegetation additionally. So, now we have enabled massive scale producers within the nation who will be capable of provide numerous PSA vegetation briefly phrases. The non-public hospitals may also purchase them at decrease value and get higher high quality. We now have additionally tied up the upkeep and the businesses will keep them.
So, will this be some sort of everlasting resolution? Will this assist us put together for any future disaster?
This will likely be a everlasting resolution. As soon as all these PSA vegetation are put in, there will likely be no such huge drawback with medical oxygen demand.
How did you handle the disaster when each state was demanding extra medical oxygen and amid a number of accusations?
In a disaster, India reacts as one. The Prime Minister had conferences with the CMs and all officers; the cupboard secretary held assessment conferences with chief secretaries of states. One evening I referred to as up Maharashtra chief secretary to ship a tanker to Goa and he willingly despatched it. Equally, Karntaka themselves had been in a severe state at one time, however after we requested them to spare tankers to Maharashtra and Telnagana, they fortunately did so. After we requested Kerala chief secretary to share some oxygen to Tamil Nadu, even once they weren’t getting their full quota, the state authorities gave some from its quota to Tamil Nadu. It was Indian in motion and there was no Centre-state situation.
How was the response of states like Odisha, West Bengal and Jharkhand since a lot of the medical oxygen was coming from these states?
They had been extraordinarily supportive. Finally, everybody realizes that both we survive as a nation or we’ll all perish collectively – swim or sink collectively. All of the states find out about it.
Was it a 24X7 operation for the empowered group through the disaster?
Sure we had been alert 24X7. In a day, there have been 2,000-3,000 messages. There have been extra messages and alerts from Delhi, Rajasthan, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Goa. We stored on receiving messages all through the evening. The whole logistics chain was throwing up points – from habits of plant supervisor to police stopping tankers, no availability of driver for an additional tanker, delay on components of some states in sending again containers and wish for arranging aircrafts to carry empty tankers. All members of the primary group and sub-groups had been out there all through. Dwelling secretary and cupboard secretary had been the final one to go to mattress. I don’t suppose they even slept from April 21 to April 30. We had been getting calls and messages from them at 12.30 am, 1.30am and even at 2.30 am.
Had you ever handled such a disaster in your profession?
The size of this disaster is way larger. In 1989, I handled a significant cyclone that hit a coastal district in Andhra Pradesh. I used to be very younger and was posted as Tehsildar there. We needed to undertake aid and rehabilitation work for 15 days. I didn’t sleep for 15 days. That point there was no cellular.

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