Ahead of the third wave of coronavirus infections that is expected to hit the country as early as mid-September, India aims to increase its medical oxygen production capacity to 15,000 tonnes per day.
This indicates a 50 percent jump from the maximum output of almost 10,000 tonnes reached earlier this year during the peak of the second COVID-19 wave. The idea is to avert another situation where hospitals run short of the gas and relatives of patients have to go helter-skelter in search of oxygen cylinders.
Linde India supplied nearly one-third of the total oxygen demand during the peak.
Moloy Banerjee, head of Linde South Asia, said that while the government is targeting 15,000 tonnes of medical oxygen per day, Linde and other manufacturers were hoping to hit production of at least 13,500 tonnes per day ahead of the third wave.
India’s total COVID-19 cases, as updated on Monday had reached 33.03 million, with the death toll at 440,752, according to health ministry data.
While demand for medical oxygen in India has considerably reduced since the peak, reaching near pre-COVID levels, gas companies along with the government are gearing up for a scenario where the third wave could be worse than the previous one.
The New Delhi government has said last month that it will increase the oxygen production by setting up new manufacturing units or expanding the production capacity of existing units for uninterrupted oxygen supply during a health crisis.