Oxygen Express trains to deliver 205 MT of oxygen - Rlys biggest single day load - to Delhi
New Delhi The national capital is scheduled to receive around 205 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) on Tuesday morning, as the Indian Railways has deployed 10 tankers on board two Oxygen Express trains — its biggest single-day load since the special operation to ferry oxygen tankers began amid acute shortage.
One train from Durgapur in West Bengal, ferrying 120 tonnes of liquid oxygen is scheduled to reach the Tughlakabad railway station at 9.30am on Tuesday while the second train, ferrying 85 tonnes of liquid oxygen, is coming via Hapa (Gujarat) to Gurugram,the railway ministry said on Monday. Officials said that the train from Hapa will halt at Gurgaon and the LMO will be transferred to trucks of the Delhi government and taken to the city.
While another Oxygen Express train, carrying 30.86 tonnes of LMO from Angul in Odisha, will arrive in Delhi by Monday evening, railway ministry officials said this is meant for supply in Haryana.
“Railways is set to deliver its biggest single day load of nearly 205 tonnes to Delhi by tomorrow morning,” the ministry said in a statement on Monday.
The move is expected to give a breather to the national capital which has been facing an acute shortage of oxygen supply for the past few weeks. Several hospitals in Delhi have sent out desperate calls to authorities to replenish their oxygen supplies which dropped precariously and threatened lives as the health infrastructure was crumbling under the pressure of an unprecedented rise in the number of Covid patients requiring oxygen or ICU support.
Till Sunday, Delhi received 454 MT of oxygen in the last 24-hours against its increased quota of 590 MT. The Delhi government has demanded 976 MT of medical oxygen to add 1,200 ICU and 15,000 oxygen beds.
The central government last week directed states to ensure free movement of vehicles carrying oxygen amid reports of some states diverting the vehicles for local use while hospitals sent out frantic appeals for emergency supplies.
“EG 2 (Empowered Group 2, formed by the PMO comprising officials from different ministries and experts) decides oxygen pipeline for states. EG 2 on Thursday set the ball rolling for mapping the sources of medical oxygen and their production capacity to match the requirement of 12 high-burden states, and has developed a framework to guide them,” railway ministry spokesperson said.
“Oxygen pipeline is a railway operation term which means oxygen express trains on hand with us for various destinations (states) in the country. We have an online real-time system to monitor the movement (pipeline) of Oxygen Express trains. EG 2 group is already working since long and is closely monitoring the situation in the country. Officials of our Ministry are also part of it,” he explained.
The national transporter has so far delivered around 1,125 tonnes of LMO in 76 tankers to various states. “Seven Oxygen Express trains are on the run currently, with 422 MT LMO in 27 tankers. Haryana will receive its fourth and fifth trains carrying nearly 72 MT LMO from Angul (Orissa) and Rourkela (Orissa),” the ministry said.