Faced with rising demand for oxygen amid the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Andhra Pradesh government has come out with a policy aimed at nearly doubling the state's oxygen manufacturing capacity.
Accordingly, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Tuesday unveiled the AP Industrial Gases and Medical Oxygen Manufacturing Policy 2021-22.
The policy has been prepared by the Department of Industries in consultation with the Department of Health and Family Welfare, taking into account the need for medical oxygen at this hour of crisis.
The policy entails setting up around 50 PSA oxygen plants, in captive and non-captive modes, to raise the oxygen manufacturing capacity to 700 MT.
The demand for medical oxygen has grown exponentially during the second wave of the pandemic and is currently estimated at 600-700 MT a day.
The state's capacity is currently 364 MT, with the rest of the demand being met through supplies from Odisha, West Bengal and Karnataka.
A state government release said that the policy aims to distribute oxygen manufacturing infrastructure across the state by adopting the zoning methodology.
Further, incentives in the policy allow for subsidising capital expenditure as well as operating expenditure of the units, allowing them to maintain profitability during the current uncertain times.
The policy also supports all the technologies such as PSA (pressure swing adsorption), liquid oxygen, and Helium mixed oxygen (Heliox). It also aims to revive the sick PSA units for quick augmentation of the oxygen manufacturing capacity.
The policy will be effective for a period of one year.
It incentivises the first movers, and the time period for commissioning PSA, Lox and Heliox are within 6 months, 18 months, and 24 months, respectively, from the date of sanction.
To address the need for medical oxygen in the state, the Andhra Pradesh government had earlier revived as many as 10 oxygen plants that were shut. These plants were closed fully or partially owing to financial and other reasons. These plants can produce over 37 tonnes of oxygen per day for the public and private hospitals in the state.
The state took these measures after the death of 11 patients at Tirupati Ruia Government Hospital due to interruption in the oxygen supply in April.