Cyclone Yaas is expected to disrupt the supply of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) from steel plants in eastern India and with Andhra Pradesh also likely to bear the brunt of the cyclone, state health authorities have taken steps to ensure an uninterrupted supply. COVID-19 special officer MT Krishna Babu said on Sunday that in view of the cyclone, the Union government has directed five states, including Andhra Pradesh, to effectively manage COVID-19 patients by ensuring an adequate supply of food, medicine, and other necessary infrastructure.
Ensuring uninterrupted oxygen supply becomes critical considering the fact that Andhra Pradesh is largely dependent on supplies from steel plants located in eastern India like Angul, Kalinganagar and Rourkela. Any disruption of the supply from these places can cause severe distress in the state. In order to mitigate the risk of any such disruption, the state government has taken initiative to increase the supplies from Odisha in the last two days using the Oxygen Express trains in order to maintain buffer stocks in all the districts. Almost 100 MT of LMO has been sourced from Rourkela, and a further 100 MT is expected before May 24 from the state through Oxygen Express, he said.
Apart from this, the state government has taken steps to monitor and ensure that the regular supply of almost 200MT using road transport tankers from Angul, Kalinganagar and Rourkela is not interrupted due to cyclone Yaas. The state has been in regular coordination with the local administration concerned in Odisha to ensure seamless supplies.
Further, the International Committee of the Red Cross, through the Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOCL), is handing over 120 MT of LMO through 6 ISO cryogenic tankers of 20 MT each to the state at Visakhapatnam Port. This 120 MT shall be placed as a reserve stock in Guntur and Tirupati as a buffer stock in case of emergency.
"In these critical times, we thank Reliance Industries Ltd, Jamnagar, for supporting Andhra Pradesh by supplying more than 200MT of LMO from RIL, Jamnagar, to Andhra Pradesh on three Oxygen Express trains on May 16, May 19, and May 22. We are thankful for their kind gesture which has really helped to manage the situation in view of increased caseload resulting in the requirement of more oxygen," the official said.
The government has alerted the Energy Department to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the three important LMO sources located in the State - the Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd, Visakhapatnam, the Ellenbarrie Industries Ltd, Visakhapatnam and the Liquinox Gases Pvt Ltd, Srikakulam.
These three sources together account for the supply of 210 MT of LMO and are crucial for ensuring oxygen supply in the state.
Besides these primary sources, there are 49 re-fillers who convert the liquefied oxygen into gaseous form and distribute it through cylinders for last-mile use to various hospitals. Power supply to these re-fillers has to be ensured without any interruption and the Energy Department has taken measures in this regard.
The state government has also asked the Collectors to ensure uninterrupted power supply to all the hospitals by checking the availability of diesel generators. The state government was instructed to make arrangements for standby generators in case generators sets are not available in any hospital.