Words of advice: A healthcare worker gives instructions to a woman who arrived for a COVID-19 test at a medical camp in Prabhadevi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

Oxygen shortage: Maharashtra moves to ensure steady supply

Committees have been set up under district collectors to monitor demand


A day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray admitted to shortage of oxygen for COVID-19 patients, the State government on Monday directed all district officials to register expected demand with the departments concerned to ensure uninterrupted supply.

Around 11% of COVID-19 patients require oxygen supply, which comes to around 500 metric tonnes (MT). “At present, the State is producing 1,000 MT oxygen. Despite that there are complaints of shortage. We have set up a special control room where the district administration official concerned will register the demand as per which supply will be ensured,” said Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Minister Dr. Rajendra Shingne.

The State has 17,753 jumbo oxygen cylinders, 1,547 b-type cylinders, 230 dura cylinders, and 14 liquid cryogenic oxygen tanks with work in progress at 16 places. The Health Department has directed all headquarters of revenue divisions to maintain reserves of 50 dura and 200 jumbo cylinders.

“Directions have been given to analyse average necessity of oxygen beds for COVID-19 patients. In addition, district civil surgeons have been asked to compile data on the per day need of oxygen in private and government hospitals in their districts,” said Health Minister Rajesh Tope. All public hospitals with a capacity of 100 or more beds have been directed to set up cryogenic oxygen tanks using funds from the District Planning and Development Council or State Disaster Management Fund or through Corporate Social Responsibility. “Those who face problems can get connected to the National Health Mission,” he said.

Oxygen tankers have now been given emergency vehicle status with siren facility. The State government has given directions to not stop the transport of these tankers, even during the day.

He added that a committee has been set up under every district collector to monitor oxygen supply, which will have officials from FDA, industries, transport and public health departments. The FDA has appointed a nodal officer at every district for the purpose. Similar committees have been formed at the divisional commissionerate and State level too.

Apart from the control room initiated by the FDA at the State level, those formed under disaster management rules at the district level to monitor monsoon will also double up for oxygen supply till December 31, 2020. The FDA control room number is 022-26592364 and toll free number is 1800222365.