Delhi has been facing an acute shortage of liquid medical oxygen which is critical to the treatment of Covid-19 patients battling severe symptoms. (PTI)
Delhi has been facing an acute shortage of liquid medical oxygen which is critical to the treatment of Covid-19 patients battling severe symptoms. (PTI)

Delhi to get 205 tonnes of liquid oxygen in Railways’ biggest single-day load

Delhi is scheduled to receive around 205 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen on Tuesday morning as the Union ministry of railways has deployed 10 tankers onboard two Oxygen Express trains
By Anisha Dutta
UPDATED ON MAY 03, 2021 09:33 PM IST

Delhi is scheduled to receive around 205 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen on Tuesday morning as the Union ministry of railways has deployed 10 tankers onboard two Oxygen Express trains. This is railways’ biggest single-day load since the special operation to ferry oxygen tankers began amid the shortage, the ministry said.

¨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.

One train from Durgapur, West Bengal ferrying 120 tonnes of liquid oxygen is scheduled to reach the national capital’s Tughlakabad railway station on Tuesday at 9:30 am while another, ferrying 85 tonnes of liquid oxygen, will reach Gurugram via Hapa, Gujarat, the ministry said.

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, officials clarified.

The move is expected to give a breather to the national capital which is struggling with an acute shortage of oxygen supply for the past few weeks. Several hospitals in Delhi sent out desperate calls to authorities to replenish their oxygen supplies when they dropped precariously, threatening lives as the health infrastructure was crumbling under the pressure of an unprecedented rise in the number of Covid-19 patients requiring oxygen or ICU support.

Till Sunday, Delhi received 454 MT of oxygen against its increased quota of 590 MT. The Delhi government has demanded a total of 976 MT of medical oxygen to add 1,200 ICU and 15,000 oxygen beds. Till Monday, the national capital received 190 tonnes of liquid oxygen from Oxygen Express trains, with Tuesday's supply Delhi would have received 395 tonnes of LMO in total through the trains.

The ministry also said one ‘Oxygen Express’, carrying 30.86 tonnes of LMO will arrive in Delhi from Angul in Odisha by Monday evening. But this lot is meant for supply in Haryana, it clarified.

Last week, the central government directed states to ensure free movement of vehicles carrying liquid oxygen amid reports of some states diverting the vehicles for local use even as hospitals sent out frantic appeals for emergency supplies.

“EG 2 group decides oxygen pipeline for states. The Empowered Group 2 (EG2, a group formed by the PMO and comprising officials from different ministries and experts), 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 developed a framework to guide them,” a railway ministry spokesperson said.

“Oxygen pipeline is a railway operation term, it means Oxygen Express trains on hand with us for various destinations (states) of the country. We have an online real-time monitoring system to monitor the movement (pipeline) of Oxygen Express trains. EG 2 group is already working for 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 delivered around 1125 tonnes of LMO in 76 tankers to various states, thus far. “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 of liquid medical oxygen from Angul and Rourkela in Odisha,” the ministry said.

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