Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Saturday inaugurated 22 oxygen plants at nine Delhi government hospitals.
The Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants have a total production capacity of 17.3 metric tonnes. Seventeen more oxygen plants are scheduled to become operational by July.
Mr. Kejriwal said the people of Delhi as well as doctors, nurses, paramedic staff and sanitation workers fought with discipline and hard work to control the latest surge. “I know of many doctors who did not go back to their homes for days. I want to thank them on behalf of the people of Delhi. The latest wave was very fatal,” he added.
Mr. Kejriwal said the intensity of the latest surge was “very severe” with people falling “dangerously sick” resulting in loss of many loved ones so much so that virtually no home was left untouched.
The Delhi government is preparing to tackle a possible “third wave” and is setting up necessary infrastructure to ensure sufficient oxygen supply, he said.
“We are now at risk of a third wave. We are receiving indications that the U.K. has already started experiencing the third wave and the cases are rising rapidly even though 45% of the people are already vaccinated there. So, we also have to be fully prepared for the same. Your government is committed to preparing with full conviction,” the CM added.
“I want to thank the industries for their support during this pandemic, especially Roshni Nadar Malhotra, chairperson of HCL Technologies,, who agreed to provide 6,000 cylinders at my single phone call,” Mr. Kejriwal said.
The latest surge in Delhi saw a huge shortage of oxygen, Mr. Kejriwal said, adding the city is not an industrial State and therefore does not have its own source of oxygen production. The requirement of oxygen had increased manifold to 700 MT during the crisis.
Delhi did not have the means of production or even tankers to procure oxygen from Haryana and Uttar Pradesh on the directions of the Centre, but now we have to be fully prepared, he said.
“We cannot do away with our responsibilities of managing the third wave. Your government is working on war footing. A few days ago, I inaugurated oxygen storage tanks, because even if we procure oxygen from outside Delhi, we do not have the capacity to store the oxygen,” he said. “I am very happy to be inaugurating the 22 oxygen plants. This is a huge development. A total of 27 PSA plants have been started in Delhi,” he further said.
The CM added that six oxygen plants had already been started by the Centre and seven plants were going to begin soon. “The pandemic cannot be fought alone and I thank the Central government for supporting the Delhi government,” he said.
Another 17 plants will be installed by July, the CM said, adding that the government was also procuring oxygen tankers to mitigate the impact of the third wave.
Earlier in the day, Delhi Legislative Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel inaugurated three PSA oxygen plants at Rajiv Gandhi Super Specialty Hospital.