Mumbai: Fourteen plants to produce the life-saving gas from the air will soon come up in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), Maharashtra Minister Eknath Shinde said on Sunday.
Shinde said one plant would produce about two tonnes (960 litres per minute) of oxygen in a day, which is adequate for 200 oxygen beds.
Shinde said the agencies involved in oxygen production have been identified and work orders have been issued. Three of these plants will come up in the civic limits of Thane, two each in Kalyan-Dombivli and Navi Mumbai, and one each in Bhiwandi, Ulhasnagar, Ambarnath, Badlapur, Mira-Bhayander, Vasai-Virar and Panvel.
According to the minister, the work has been started and these plants will become operational in the next few days.
The minister also said that five to six plants producing 1-1.5 tonnes of oxygen daily were also being set up in Gadchiroli district, of which Shinde is the guardian minister.
Shinde’s announcement comes on a day when the Centre had allocated 1,784MTs of oxygen to Maharashtra. It also coincided with the Centre’s decision to set up 551 pressure-swing absorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants inside public health facilities across the country. Such plants will come up in all 36 districts of Maharashtra.
Earlier, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had urged PM Narendra Modi to supply additional 250 to 300MTs of oxygen, as Maharashtra requires 1,550MTs of medical oxygen to treat coronavirus patients every day and about 300 to 350MTs is being procured from outside. Instead of distant states, if the supply could be arranged from neighbouring states, it would be available faster, he said.
Empty oxygen tankers should be flown back to refilling plants to save on transportation time if it was not possible to airlift oxygen, Thackeray said. State Health Minister Rajesh Tope announced that the demand to fly back empty tankers was accepted.
More than 60,000 patients in the state are on oxygen support while there are 76,300 oxygen beds and over 25,000 additional oxygen beds were being arranged, the CM informed.