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No paucity of medical oxygen in Kashmir: Chief Engineer MED

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Says current oxygen generation capacity is of 23500 LPM; 2100-2300 oxygen cylinders are also available with hospitals; 20 oxygen plants have been installed, 17 are in offing, and 9 more in transit

Srinagar: With the onset of 2nd wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the hospitals associated with Covid-care in Kashmir have witnessed a steep rise in requirement of medical oxygen as more number of patients, who have tested Covid-19 positive, are turning up to the hospitals after their oxygen saturation levels drop in home isolation.

To allay public fears with regard to availability of medical oxygen, Chief Engineer, Mechanical Engineering Department, Kashmir, Rashid Ahmad shared details about the status of oxygen both in terms of generation capacity, and in the form of bulk cylinders available to cater to the needs of  Covid hospitals in Kashmir.

He said the role of MED has been very important vis-à-vis ensuring the generation of oxygen in hospitals to make it available to the patients and the department is doing its best to live up to the expectations.

He said the oxygen supply may be in the shape of liquid medical oxygen, cylinders or in the form of captive PSA medical oxygen generation.

“We have an issue regarding supply of liquid medical oxygen here due the logistics involved which would be cumbersome to procure from outside the state on a consistent and reliable basis,” Ahmad said.

For cylinders, he said in Kashmir “we have four industrial units for refilling and bottling but that is insufficient.”

Giving details about the oxygen generation capacity of Kashmir, Ahmad said that prior to 2nd wave of Covid-19, “our hospitals would generate 8000 litres of oxygen per minute, but as on date we have further installed 20 plants in different district hospitals and GMC associated hospitals in Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag districts.”

He said this time the bulk oxygen that is being supplied to the hospitals is being done through these PSA based plants and the production of oxygen exceeds 23500 litres per minute (LPM) and, “if we talk in terms of per capita, patient and population-wise, this much of oxygen generation capacity is sufficient.”

Ahmad said that with the support of 2100-2300 bulk cylinders  from industrial units and together with captive PSA based oxygen generation, the situation is normal in hospitals, patients are getting good supply of oxygen.

“The position of oxygen has become better as we were prepared to deal with it and we had fixed our contracts in time. We had made order for 37 plants in October-November, the bulk of this order has already arrived and we have so far installed 20 plants and 17 more plants are in the offing,” he informed.

He informed that the PSA oxygen generator of these plants come from Germany. This time also, some nine plants are in transit and ready for shipment for airlifting.

“Due to the Covid, there is an embargo on Air Cargo, so our UT government has directly talked to the Civil Aviation ministry about the lifting of nine plants from Frankfurt, Germany, and the same shall be done on May 16 and it may take another couple of days for it to reach here,” Ahmad added.

“Following the installation of these nine more plants, our position shall be improve further and there shall remain no dearth of oxygen,” he assured.

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