How a difficult operation went to save patients
Immediately after the DMK took office on May 7, it faced the first litmus test: the second wave of COVID-19 got out of hand and a large amount of liquid medical oxygen required by public hospitals to save patients .
As other states faced oxygen shortages, the government of Tamil Nadu formed a task force to develop a plan to supply oxygen to various parts of the country. The working group was chaired by Industry Secretary N. Muruganandam and included PK Bansal, then President of Tangedco, T. Prabhushankar, then Executive Director of Metrowater, K. Nanthakumar and several other IAS officials.
The state had a total production capacity of 450 metric tons of oxygen, in the private sector, and the large number of COVID-19 cases in the first week of May led to an increase in the need for liquid medical oxygen. because more than 200 metric tons were supplied. to other southern states, including Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, Muruganandam said. The government also anticipated the need to source 200 metric tons of oxygen daily from other states. In a letter written by Chief Minister MK Stalin, the Union government allocated oxygen to Odisha and West Bengal. A plan was developed to transport oxygen from these states by partnering with Southern Railway, the Indian Air Force and private logistics companies.
But the plan came up against a stumbling block: supplying the eastern corridor with oxygen required cryogenic tanks, which the state did not have. Mr Bansal said that at the start of the operation, the state had neither cryogenic tanks nor tanker trucks, all of which were operated by individuals. Mr Bansal secured three tanker trucks from a private company, helping the State and Southern Railway to launch Ro-Ro (Ro-Ro) service for faster transport of oxygen. On some occasions, tankers have been transported on Indian Air Force planes.
In the meantime, the government received four cryogenic tanks from the Netherlands, which were taken to Kalinganagar in Odisha. These cryogenic tanks, with a capacity of 20 tonnes each, brought more oxygen to the state – and at a faster rate. A tanker could only hold 15 metric tons. Even as the empty tanks were on their way to Rourkela in Odisha, the first cryogenic tanks carrying oxygen landed in Thiruvallur on May 10.
Mr Bansal said that at one point 34 cryogenic tanks were delivering oxygen, 12 of which were purchased by the Chinese government.
State officials were delegated to locations where oxygen factories were located to resolve logistical issues. IAS Manish Narnaware officials Nishant Krishna, A. Periyasamy and Abishek Tomar have been dispatched to Maharashtra, Odisha, West Bengal and Chhattisgarh to coordinate with local authorities.