VISAKHAPATNAM: The supply of oxygen has now become an emergency requirement for treating COVID-19 patients in the corona second wave that has affected the country. The RNIL- Visakhapatnam Steel Plant is playing an important role in the production of liquid oxygen and providing to various states in addition to the supply in the State o Andhra Pradesh. The plant produces 7.3 million tonnes per annum, will supply over 100 tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) to Maharashtra on April 22, sources in RINL-VSP said on Wednesday.
VSP has already supplied approximately 400 tonnes of LMO last week to various destinations in AP and other states as instructed by the Centre.
Last year it had supplied 8,842 tonnes of medical oxygen. The plant has the capacity to produce a maximum of 2,950 tonnes of oxygen per day through a total of five oxygen plants.
State Drug Control officials are in consultation with the steel plant to produce LMO required for steel production and give the rest of the oxygen for medical purposes.
More than 700 tonnes of oxygen was sent to various districts of the state on weekdays at a rate of 100 tonnes per day.
At present, various centres in the state have the capacity to produce 200 metric tons of oxygen per day. Currently, only 50 to 60 metric tons are being produced and 50 metric tons of oxygen per day is required for COVID-19 patients across the state.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has directed the health department officials to set up 7,380 oxygen beds across the state by the 25th of this month and ensure oxygen supply accordingly.
The Drug Control Administration has issued guidelines to the respective centres to increase the production capacity of oxygen to the required extent.
Officials say the state has sufficient storage capacity for the product so that it can be stored without any problems.
Various states have asked the AP government for help in sending oxygen tankers. Collector Vinay Chand said that oxygen tankers from Visakhapatnam are currently being sent to Maharashtra. Steel plant officials said arrangements were being made to send 150 tonnes of LMO by 10 cryogenic tankers in an express train on Thursday, to meet the medical exigencies of COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra.