‘Supplied 1500 cylinders daily to 12 districts’
Udaipur : While the other districts were seeking help from others to meet acute shortage of the life saving gas for gasping patients in hospitals and homes, Chittorgarh emerged as a role model by taking care of its own medical oxygen needs but also supplying it to 12 districts in distress. Many people died due to the shortage of oxygen in hospitals during the intense second wave of the pandemic that hit the state in April.
So grave was the situation that district collectors had to appeal to industries and various sources for additional supplies. In Udaipur, the situation had been so grim that the Indian Airforce plane airlifted empty tankers to Jamnagar to save time in the one way journey to reach oxygen plants in Gujarat so that they can carry back oxygen supplies for hospitals.
Seeing the gravity of the situation, Chittorgarh collector Tarachand Meena reviewed the oxygen production capacity in the various industrial units. “It was a challenging time and the Collector, his staff and medical teams would stay late in the offices making strategies to increase oxygen production. The plants would work 24×7 to produce oxygen and the vehicular movement was non stop carrying the gas to hospitals in various districts” Ramkrishna Singh, the district drug control officer who was also in incharge of oxygen distribution said. An oxygen manufacturing plant at Azoliya ka Kheda that was non operational for many years, was reopened.
“The plant had the capacity to make 700 oxygen cylinders per day. It was restarted at the behest of the district administration and the production capacity was doubled, thus manufacturing 1500 cylinders everyday” Singh said. Another plant at Narsa Khedi produced 550 oxygen cylinders daily and in this way Chittorgarh had the availability of 2050 oxygen cylinders everyday. “Our need was around 500-600 cylinders daily and so we thought of supplying the surplus oxygen to distressed callers. The administration acquired production control of both the plants and started supplying the surplus gas to Udaipur, Dungarpur, Banswara, Pratapgarh, Sirohi, Bhilwara, Bundi, Baran, Jhalawad,Nagaur, Ajmer and Kota.
To ensure uninterrupted supplies to all districts equally, a special plan was chalked out and slots were assigned to vehicles arriving from different districts. Each district had a time slot when their vehicles would be given entry inside the plants and exit with the stipulated supplies. During the ‘Taute’ alert, to ensure regular power supply in both the oxygen plants, generator sets were brought in from Ratlam and Bhiwadi.
Another innovative step taken was to keep a ‘buffer’ stock so as to meet any emergency like situation arising in any part of the state. Cylinders from the buffer stock were sent to Pratapgarh and Baran districts during emergency calls. Chittorgarh also arranged empty cylinders of which 250 were given to Pratapgarh, 100 to Baran, 50 to Sawai Madhopur and 45 to Banswara which proved as a great help for ailing patients in their respective places. Presently, Chittorgarh administration is setting up new oxygen plants in various blocks.
Oxygen refilling plants with daily capacity of 200 cylinders at the district hospital, and at CHC levels 150 at Nimbahera, 35 at Badi Sadri, 65 at Begun,35 each at Kapasan, Rawat Bhata, Dungla and Gangrar are being set up. ” Food, clothing and shelter are believed to be the basic needs for survival but in the wake of COVID-19,there is a clamour for medical oxygen to survive. and oxygen sufficient districts should emerge as saviours” Collector Meena said.