Oxygen demand goes up as Kashmir grapples with COVID

Representational Image [Source: Flickr/Morris]

With more than 1300 covid infected people admitted in Kashmir hospitals, the demand for medical oxygen here has increased sharply. 

In the face of crisis, the oxygen gas supplying companies in Kashmir which were earlier supplying only 40 percent of their medical oxygen gas to the hospitals and remaining 60 percent to the industrial sector have now stopped supplying to the private sector. “They have diverted entire supply to the government hospitals in Kashmir division to meet the demand,” sources said.

 “We are supplying 650 oxygen cylinders per day to SKIMS, 450 gas cylinders to SMHS and 50 cylinders to JVC hospital. Two weeks prior to this we were supplying just 200 cylinders a day to SKIMS and 100-150 cylinders to SMHS. The demand of oxygen cylinders in the hospitals has increased manifold,” Muhammad Shafi, Oxygen Gas plant owner said.

He said that they have stopped all the supplies to the industrial units after the resurgence of COVID19 in Kashmir division.

Another plant owner, Naveed Tak said they are willing to do their best to supply medical oxygen to the hospitals. “We have capacity to supply 1200 oxygen cylinders a day. We are doing our best to ensure that the oxygen reaches patients. We are trying to enhance our capacity. But people should understand that they need to follow to COVID appropriate behavior.

“Though situation is in control of this, we have to prevent it from going from bad to worse.”

Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, Aijaz Asad said that the hospitals in Srinagar have a demand of 20,000 LPM of oxygen out of which 16,000 LPM is met by the oxygen plants in the hospitals and remaining supply is met by bulk cylinders supplied by the private gas agencies.

The Central government on Sunday  in view of the acute shortage of life-saving gas, completely banned the use of “liquid oxygen” for industrial purposes, as the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) in a communication to all the states and the Union Territories, made it clear that “no exception is allowed to any industry” with regard to use of the commodity.

In a letter to Chief Secretaries of the states and the UTs, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in the capacity of the chairman of the executive committee of the National Disaster Management Act (NDMA) said: “All the authorities need to ensure that use of liquid oxygen is not allowed for any non-medical purpose and that all manufacturing units may maximize their production of liquid oxygen, and make it available to the Government for use for medical purposes only, with immediate effect and until further orders.”