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41 more medical oxygen plants coming up: Kishan

Union Minister for Culture, Tourism & North East States Development G. Kishan Reddy on Monday announced that 41 more medical oxygen plants are in the process of being installed across Telangana in various government hospitals and medical colleges with funding from PM Cares.

Nine more such plants are already in different stages of commissioning in districts including Bhadrachalam, Jagtial, Jangoan, Karimnagar and Nalgonda besides AIIMS-Bibinagar to cater to the demands of patients. Altogether, 1,022 oxygen plants are being set up in the country.

Talking to the media after inspecting Gandhi Hospital for the 10th time in as many months, the Minister, who is also Secunderabad MP, pointed out that the two oxygen units installed during the onset of the second COVID-19 wave have been providing 2,000 litres of oxygen every minute.

Six smaller units providing 3,000 litres of oxygen a minute have also come up at the hospital with the assistance of the Pollution Control Board and corporate groups, he said, welcoming more such initiatives. “It is a fact that the unprecedented demand for oxygen during the second wave led to a lot of hardships for people and many lives were lost. We have to save lives, so this has led to the government taking up these plants on a massive scale,” said Mr. Reddy.

With regard to the apprehensions about the third wave, he said the country has been “fortunate so far”. “I pray to the Almighty it remains so. The next wave will not come from abroad but is for us to control by practising COVID-appropriate behaviour of face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing,” he said.

The Minister claimed the Centre has been putting its entire might in increasing vaccine production capacities and encouraging research and development into new vaccines with about 58 crore doses administered so far.

“We will be in a better position by December as far as vaccination is concerned. Every eligible person, even those in remote tribal areas, will get free vaccine. There are production constraints as it takes close to 128 days for a batch to be produced, and raw materials have to be procured from abroad. Every country has its own COVID issues, so this has become tough. Plus, every batch is tested before being released for vaccination,” he explained.

In Telangana alone, 1.61 crore jabs have been administered and another 13.18 lakh vaccine doses stock is available with the hospitals. The Minister urged people to have faith in public healthcare institutions for COVID treatment and vaccination instead of rushing to private hospitals and paying hefty bills.

Every vaccine available in the country has been tested for safety and efficacy, so there was no need for any doubt about that. He had also sanctioned ₹2 crore from his constituency fund for roofing at the 19 vaccination centres in Secunderabad as the drive is likely to continue till December-January.

“No need to worry about vaccine side-effects; I myself took it at Gandhi Hospital. Doctors here have been doing yeoman service as COVID warriors. I visited the emergency wards and interacted with the patients too,” said Mr. Reddy. The Minister also stated that he has been talking about COVID-appropriate behaviour during his public programmes, and those without masks were kept out. The Hindu