With a probable third wave of coronavirus expected to hit India in August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday took stock of the availability of medical-grade liquid oxygen in the country.
He directed officials to make sure that the over 1,500 Pressure Swing Adsorption oxygen plants that are being built across the nation, using the PM CARES funds, should be made functional at the earliest.
The prime minister was informed that the oxygen produced at these upcoming facilities will support more than 4 lakh oxygenated beds.
Modi also laid special importance on ensuring that trained manpower was available in each and every district of the country to ensure smooth operations if and when the need arises. He said that adequate training should be provided to hospital staff on the operation and maintenance of oxygen plants.
The prime minister was informed by officials that a training module prepared by experts is in place, and they are targeting training of around 8,000 people across the country.
Modi also asked them to deploy advanced technology like IoT to track the performance and functioning of these oxygen plants at the local and national level.
He was informed by officials that a pilot exercise is being done using IoT for monitoring the performance of the oxygen plants, the PMO said.
Officials also informed the prime minister that they are in regular touch with officers from state governments regarding fast-tracking the oxygen plants, a government press release said.
Modi's meeting assumes significance in the wake of the severe oxygen crisis witnessed during the peak of the second COVID-19 wave in April-May. Since then the Union government has been taking measures in coordination with states to boost its production and supply.
Experts have predicted that a third wave is almost a certainty although various studies have differed in opinion over its timing and severity.