The Indian Railways is slated to have its own oxygen plants soon. Jagjivan Ram Hospital in Mumbai, operated by the Western Railway (WR), will be amongst the first to get it by the next month. This is a part of the Railways’ holistic plan to set up 86 oxygen plants across the country in the coming weeks.
According to senior officials from WR, an oxygen plant is being set up at Jagjivan Ram Hospital for which space has been identified. The Divisional Railway Manager of Mumbai for WR, GVL Satya Kumar, confirmed the same and said that this oxygen plant is being built at a cost of around Rs 1.30 crore and will provide oxygen to at least 100 patients each day.
The authorities have not divulged the actual capacity of this oxygen plant. However, sources informed that the capacity of this plant is around 1,000 litres per minute, which is equivalent to close to a tonne of oxygen produced per minute. A patient usually requires 10 to 20 litres per day depending on his condition.
At present, the hospital is catering to more than 350 patients. Following the second wave, the number of admissions rose and led to a dearth in oxygen supply. On May 19, Union Railway Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted, “Massive capacity enhancement is being undertaken in railway hospitals for medical emergencies.”
As part of this, the Railways has planned to enhance the capacity of 86 railway hospitals across the country. Senior officials from the Railways said that four oxygen plants are already under construction, 52 plants are sanctioned and 30 plants are at various stages in the process.
For sanctioning oxygen generation plants, all general managers have been delegated further powers up to Rs 2 crore in each case. “We had been stressing that all railway hospitals should have an oxygen generating plant. Mumbai is one of the first cities to get one,” said Dr M Raghavaiah, general secretary, National Federation of Indian Railwaymen. The Railways has also increased the number of beds for COVID-19 treatment from 2,539 to 6,972. ICU beds in hospitals have been increased from 273 to 573. Invasive ventilators have been added and their number has increased from 62 to 296.