As rest of India faces oxygen shortage, surplus producer Kerala sits pretty with enough reserves


Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid the sombre atmosphere caused by the growing number of Covid infections, it has emerged that the state is comfortably placed when it comes to the availability of medical oxygen. The average daily consumption of medical oxygen in the state over the last six days went up to 75 metric tonnes, of which 31.6 metric tonnes were used by Covid patients suffering from respiratory distress. 

According to the figures available with the Petroleum and Explosive Safety Organisation (PESO), which monitors the production and consumption of medical oxygen, before the onset of the second wave of the pandemic 25 metric tonnes of oxygen were being used for Covid treatment daily. Though there has been a steady increase in demand for oxygen lately, it will not burden the logistics and oxygen supply chain as the state has enough reserves to ride out the situation, said R Venugopal, deputy chief controller of explosives, PESO. 

As per the PESO figures, the daily production of oxygen in the state stood at 199 metric tonnes, while the oxygen reserve was 586 metric tonnes. Going by the numbers, Kerala produces over twice as much oxygen as it requires.

According to the expert committee of the Directorate General of Health Services, the state will require 103 metric tonnes of medical oxygen daily by April 30. Venugopal said that PESO has been constantly checking the availability of medical oxygen in the state and efforts are on to augment the stockpile through purchases from other manufacturers including Cochin Shipyard and BPCL-Kochi Refinery. 

Apart from the oxygen stocked at the three production centres in the state,  hospitals maintain their own reserves which add up to 420 metric tonnes. There are 32 hospitals in the state which have got bulk oxygen storage facility and the capacity ranges from 2 to 40 metric tonnes.  

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