Make strategic reserve of oxygen for 2-3 weeks: NTF to Supreme Court

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“All hospitals should have a buffer capacity for emergencies, and they should set-up oxygen monitoring committees of senior staff”

New Delhi: Supreme Court-appointed National Task Force (NTF) of top medical experts, set up to formulate a methodology for allocation of oxygen to states and union territories, has recommended that the country should have strategic reserves of the gas for 2-3 weeks of consumption on the lines of the arrangements made for petroleum products.

The 12-member NTF said that all hospitals should have a buffer capacity for emergencies, and they should set-up oxygen monitoring committees of senior staff. The top court had set up the NTF on May 6 to formulate a methodology for allocation of oxygen for saving lives of Covid-19 patients and to facilitate a public health response to the pandemic.

Dealing with augmenting the supplies of liquid medical oxygen or LMO, based on present and projected demands during the pandemic, the panel said that about 20 per cent buffer capacity of the states'' requirement should be created for allocation over and above baseline demand for allocation to states with rising cases of Covid-19. "Efforts are to be made to further scale up LMO production in preparation of the next pandemic. There is an urgent need to increase production of LMO from about 5 per cent - 8 per cent of gaseous industrial oxygen. Government should support and subsidize concerned industries".

The panel suggested that in an emergency, the states may actively explore setting up some field/make-shift hospitals in proximity of industrial oxygen production units which can supply piped oxygen with necessary modifications and strict quality control and technology to be put in place to convert nitrogen plants to oxygen producing plants in case of an emergency situation.

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