Andhra Pradesh had been getting 480 Metric Tonnes (MT) oxygen as part of the state allocations by the Centre. With the number of COVID-19 cases soaring, states have been clamouring for more oxygen. On May 5, the Union government issued an order with a supply plan to deliver medical oxygen to 11 states and two union territories. As per the new order, Andhra Pradesh has now been allotted 500 MT oxygen per day.
According to health officials, Andhra, expecting the cases to go up, has been asking the Centre for 1,000 MT oxygen predicting that they will need this much by May 15. â€śWeâ€™ve been asking for 1,000 MT, out of which we require at least 800 MT. Though the Centre had allotted Andhra Pradesh 480 MT earlier, we were able to use only 440-450 MT due to lack of tankers for transportation,â€ť said a senior official from the stateâ€™s Health Department on the condition of anonymity.
The state has also been asking the Union government for cryogenic tankers to facilitate the transport of oxygen. Presently, the state has 69 tankers that are doing multiple trips to ensure oxygen reaches various hospitals across the state.
In a review meeting held last week, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy directed officials to set up 42 Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants to ensure availability of required oxygen for COVID-19 hospitals. He also asked the state officials to procure more tankers. On May 4, the state cabinet decided to take special measures to address the issue by importing oxygen from Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu.
The state government is also trying to implement various steps to ease the soaring need for oxygen. One of the measures is facilitating indigenous production of oxygen wherever industrial oxygen is available. Around 40-50 MT of oxygen is being generated this way.
Another important step being implemented is in hospitals that have oxygen plants, the number of beds is being increased by a large extent to ensure that the oxygen produced can be tapped into. This solves the transportation gap that exists in the state. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL) in Visakhapatnam, Tadipatri and Kalahasti are some of the places where 1,000-bed hospitals are being set up to tap into the oxygen produced there.
READ: Andhra is managing its medical oxygen supply but grappling with distribution