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95 out of 248 oxygen plants commissioned in Karnataka

Out of the 248 oxygen generation plants allotted to Karnataka through various sources, around 120 PSA (pressure swing adsorption) plants have been installed as of date but only 95 have been commissioned so far.

Another 25 plants are awaiting commissioning. The state aims to commission these plants by the end of September 2021, Health Minister K Sudhakar told DH.

This is important in the context of the massive oxygen supply problems faced by hospitals in Karnataka during the peak of the second wave.

“The monsoon has also affected civil and electrical works in some of the plants,” he said. The Private Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (PHANA), on the other hand, says during non-Covid times, their oxygen consumption was one-fifth of what it is during Covid times, and wants the government to identify one vendor zone-wise as the hub to supply oxygen cylinders to spokes, i.e., smaller hospitals with less than 100 beds.

Apollo Hospitals Jayanagar’s medical superintendent Dr Govindaiah Yatheesh, president-elect of PHANA, said: “We had asked hospitals to assess oxygen consumption during the second wave’s peak and asked them to enlist two vendors with one of them as a backup. This is at the institutional level. We want the government to back the contingency plan.”

The problem in the possible third Covid wave will be for hospitals with less than 100 beds, said PHANA oresident Dr H M Prasanna. In a June 8 circular, Health Commissioner Dr K V Trilok Chandra directed all private hospitals of the state to instal oxygen plants on their premises within four months (by October) to avert any oxygen crisis.

Hospitals with more than 100 beds should have capacity to produce at least two times their oxygen requirement. Hospitals with 50 to 99 beds should meet at least their normal requirement, the circular said.

“This circular is not scientific. During non-Covid times, our consumption is one-fifth of what the government has suggested to set up now. Whoever invests in oxygen plants will have them idling later. We’ve spoken to the health minister to rescind the circular but he says it is the Centre’s mandate. We will write to the Government of India via the Indian Medical Association,” Dr Prasanna said. Deccan Herald

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