New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry has initiated the process of importing liquid oxygen as part of its preparedness to meet any unforeseen shortage during the winters when the country may witness an increase in Covid-19 cases leading to a rise in demand for oxygen.
HLL Lifecare Limited, a public sector undertaking, has floated a global tender on Wednesday on behalf of the Health Ministry for procuring one lakh metric tonne of liquid oxygen.
The oxygen is being procured for various central and state government hospitals. The entire exercise of importing and then distributing the medical oxygen is estimated to cost Rs 600-700 crore, official sources said.
“Industries have opened up following unlock procedures and as on September 30, the country’s daily capacity of oxygen production is around 7,000 metric tonne, of which around 3,094 metric tonne is being used for both Covid and non-Covid patients and is just enough to meet the demands,” a source said.
“So this one lakh metric tonne of liquid oxygen which is being planned to be procured from foreign countries would create a one month buffer in case demand rises further during the winter season,” the source explained.
The issue was discussed at a meeting held by the Cabinet Secretary on October 10, following which it was decided to import liquid oxygen.