To pre-empt oxygen crisis, BMC begins work on doubling supply | Mumbai News – Times of India


MUMBAI: Hit by a brief oxygen crisis in the second wave, BMC has begun work on an ambitious plan to double availability of medical oxygen in the months to come.
Even with less than 5,000 active cases and a fraction of it hospitalised, the city currently needs 200 metric tonnes (MT) of medical oxygen a day. In the peak of the second wave in April, the demand touched 260-270 MT, triggering a frantic search to refill oxygen for at least five days. “We don’t want to see that kind of crisis again. Our plan is to ensure the city has 400 MT, and is almost self-sufficient,” said P Velrasu, additional civic commissioner (projects).
The plan broadly involves installing more liquid medical oxygen tanks in hospitals, creating PSA (Pressure swing Adsorption) plants through CSR and self-funding, and set up refill stations. Emphasis is on building PSA plants as each can generate over 1 metric tonne oxygen. Seven of these plants are created with CSR funds and set up at Kasturba, Bhabha and Cooper hospitals.
Also, BMC is installing 16 more PSA plants at nine hospitals that would generate 41MT of oxygen. Although commission and implementation of the plants are mired in controversy, Velrasu said they will be functional by August 15. “All PSA plants put together will generate almost 48 MT of oxygen which will help wards become self-sufficient,” he said.
It is also proposed to set up another 45 PSA plants at an estimated cost of Rs 240 crore. A proposal is on and could take two months. Installing a PSA plant involves a cost of Rs 2-2.5crore. But, while PSA plants can sustain wards, they can’t replace need for high-pressure oxygen — the mainstay of ICUs.
At present, all 200MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) comes from suppliers like Inox and Linde who deliver to hospitals having 10-13kilolitre tanks to store it. While 21 LMOs were installed after the first wave, BMC plans to add four 13KL tanks in jumbo facilities at NSCI, Nesco, Richardson & Cruddas in Byculla and Somaiya in Sion. Two 40KL tanks are being imported from China to be installed at jumbos in Kanjurmarg and Somaiya.
A refilling station is also coming up at Mahalaxmi, where upto 100 dura cylinders can be filled daily.

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