The defence ministry has decided to airlift 23 mobile oxygen generation plants from Germany as several states reeled under an acute shortage of medical oxygen due to a massive surge in coronavirus cases, officials said on Friday. They said each plant will have a capacity to produce 40 litres of oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres per hour.
In a separate move, the defence ministry has decided to give extension to 238 short service commissioned doctors in the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) till December 31 to tide over the current situation, the officials said.
On procurement of oxygen generation plants from Germany, Principal Spokesperson in the defence ministry A Bharat Bhushan Babu said they will be deployed in the AFMS hospitals treating COVID-19 patients.
The decision by the ministry came four days after Defence Minister Rajnath Singh announced granting emergency financial powers to the three services and other defence agencies to make necessary procurement to enhance medical infrastructure in view of the pandemic.
"Twenty-three mobile oxygen generation plants are being airlifted from Germany. These will be deployed in AFMS hospitals catering to the COVID patients," Babu said. He said the oxygen generating plants are expected to be airlifted within a week.
Another official said the Indian Air Force has been told to remain ready to keep its transport aircraft ready to bring the plants from Germany once required paper works are completed. The official said more oxygen generation plants may be procured from abroad. "The advantage of these plants is that they are easily portable," said Babu.
India is struggling with a second wave of coronavirus infection and hospitals in several states are reeling under shortage of medical oxygen and beds in view of rising COVID-19 cases. The country recorded a one-day tally of 3.32 lakh new coronavirus cases and 2,263 new fatalities, according to official data released on Friday.