With the region witnessing a record surge in daily Covid-19 cases and a lot of patients requiring oxygen, manufacturer of industrial and medical gases INOX Air Products has scaled by its production in one of its 44 plants in Himachal Pradesh.
Despite having Covid cases in their families, 45 INOX employees from its Barotiwala plant have been engaged in the 24×7 production of liquid medical oxygen and its supply to six states and Union Territory of Chandigarh.
The hero to tackle oxygen emergency when patients in hospitals were gasping for breath is the company’s 31 tanker drivers who have not met their families for days together and doing the job with a smile on their faces, a company spokesperson told IANS on Friday.
“Whether it is the production and operations team, or the maintenance team, or the team involved in planning the logistics, every person at the INOX plant is working round the clock to ensure that no life is lost due to the oxygen shortage,” he said.
The Barotiwala plant in Solan district has ramped up its monthly supplies of medical oxygen from 900 metric tons (MT) in March 2020 in the pre-COVID times to 3,873 MT in April 2021 to cater to the increasing demand with the surge in COVID cases.
From a pre-COVID daily medical oxygen supply average of 30 tons per day, the plant has been supplying four times more oxygen at an average of 120 tons per day.
With the increased number of cases, every hospital has increased the number of beds and ventilators, while the infrastructure to handle medical oxygen remained limited.
Due to the storage constraints, the frequency of filling of storage tanks at hospitals increased from once in four days to once in eight hours, said the spokesperson.
“The sudden increase in demand has put an unprecedented stress on the entire manufacturing and distribution team,” he said.
The Barotiwala plant operates 29 cryogenic transport tankers, out of which 19 tankers are deployed for medical oxygen supplies.