In Kerala, media, both print and electronic, keep on ‘celebrating’ the alleged “scarcity” of oxygen. This correspondent spoke to Dr. R. Venugopal, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and Nodal Officer for Medical Oxygen Monitoring, Kerala & Lakshwadeep.
Dr. Venugopal rejected the ‘scarcity theory’. His matter of fact statement is as follows:
Production capacity of Irnox Air products, Kanjikode, Palakkad is149 MT per day. Actual production is only 147 MT/ day.
Liquid storage is 1000 MT
Supply of liquid oxygen to hospitals in
Kerala is 79 MT, Tamilnadu- 74 MT, Karnataka – 30 MT.
KMML, Chavara, Kollam production capacity is 6 MT per day.
Actual production is only 6 MT per day
Liquid storage 50 MT.
Supply of liquid oxygen to hospital through filling plants :10 MT.
See how Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organization, Kerala managed the requirements:
1. PESO assessed availability, locally and in neighbouring states considering storage capacity and movements constraints.
2. PESO evaluated transport capacity, bulk tank availability, distances, road condition and security. Bulk tanks are supplier-specific. Smaller and portable tanks are often readily available, but larger tanks for permanent installation are considered.
3. If bulk tanks are already in-situ at hospitals facilities, PESO assessed storage capacity.
4. We evaluated capacity to vaporize liquid oxygen into gas, either with existing installations or as component on smaller/portable tanks.
5. Determined with the help of installer if gas can be piped directly to patients through an existing piping system or if it needs to be compressed into gas cylinders.
6. Ensured that installer has sufficient ancillary accessories, including valves and pressure and flow regulators.
7. Ensured and checked with the installer that sufficient medical devices for delivery oxygen therapy are available.
8. Advised the hospitals to ensure sufficient resources (both HR and equipment) to carry out necessary maintenance.
Bulk storage tanks are already there.PESO has assessed the storage capacity
There will be cylinder manifold as well as bulk storage tanks. Kerala is the only state which currently enjoys surplus oxygen. One reason for this could be that PESO Kerala succeeded in estimating the oxygen requirement of each patient and ensured optimal supply whereas this process has not been that rigorous in other states.We expect the oxygen requirements as follows:
Covid patient:105000 Oxygen requirements: 51.45
Non covid patients oxygen requirements : 47.16 MT
Total : 98.61 MT
Oxygen requirements: 56.35 MT
Non covid patients oxygen requirements: 47.16 MT
Total :103.51 MT
PESO, a department formed by the Government of India, is responsible for monitoring and ensuring ample supply of medical oxygen in the country. It is a 123 years old organization of Government of India. Chief Controller of Explosives has appointed nodal officers for the monitoring of oxygen and manufacturers at each states.The state government has also appointed nodal officers from State Health Department (DHS)t. The central government’s PESO nodal officers and state government’s DHS nodal officers work together in Kerala as a well-oiled machinery.
The state government nodal officers verify the need from each districts and give data to the PESO nodal officers. The PESO nodal officer is the regulator of compressed gas plants under Explosives Act and Gas Cylinder Rules. He collects data from oxygen manufacturers and fillers and ensures that oxygen reaches the hospitals. This is team work by central and state government for a great cause. A great example for other states to follow.
Central Control Rooms have been set up by PESO at Faridabad, Nagpur and all other states. They monitor the oxygen manufacturing, storage and movement for medical purposes across country.
These facts and figures are more than enough to reject the ‘scarcity theory’.