Hyderabad: Though the Telangana government has decided to add 10,000 more beds with oxygen supply across various hospitals in the State, it is still unclear as to how it plans to provide oxygen lines to all these beds, at a time when the State is facing an acute shortage of oxygen.
For the 10,000 additional beds, the State will need around 146 Metric Tonnes (MT) more oxygen per day, according to the formula provided by the Central government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for calculating oxygen requirement in a State.
This formula takes into consideration consumption of 7.14 litres oxygen in an hour, per bed. For ICU beds, the requirement will be much higher as the oxygen consumption in the formula is considered at 11.9 litres in an hour, per bed.
Telangana, which requires around 260 MT oxygen per day now, is struggling to ensure oxygen availability to beds currently available and even had to airlift oxygen tankers to procure the gas from Odisha.
As per the latest data provided by the MoHFW in the oxygen supply plan for various States, Telangana has just two private plants producing only around 101 MT of oxygen per day and as a result, the State is already facing a shortfall of around 159 MT.The addition of another 10,000 beds, requiring around 146 MT oxygen, raises question as to how the increased demand would be fulfilled.
Storage of oxygen a cause for concern across State
The problem is not just limited to the oxygen availability, but storage space as well. The Central government released a tender recently for the import of 50,000 MT of liquid oxygen. As per the data provided in it, only one private oxygen manufacturing plant in Telangana has extra storage space for the imported liquid oxygen, that too just of 55 MT capacity.
This is much lower compared to many other States. For example, other south Indian States such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have 270 MT, 456 MT and 1,192 MT of extra storage space for imported liquid oxygen.