O2 storage tanks to task force: Detailing the ‘Mumbai model’ | Mumbai news - Hindustan Times
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O2 storage tanks to task force: Detailing the ‘Mumbai model’

ByJyoti Shelar, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
May 07, 2021 03:56 AM IST

The apex court on Wednesday appreciated Mumbai’s efforts and recommended that the Centre and Delhi take a cue on how to handle oxygen supply in the face of the severe shortage that the Capital city has been facing for the past three weeks.

In a span of 40 days between May and June last year, Mumbai civic body installed 15 Liquid Medical Oxygen [LMO] tanks with a capacity of 13 kilolitres each and 11 smaller tanks with a capacity of up to six kilolitres each in the city’s six civic-run hospitals and six jumbo Covid-19 centres. These oxygen storage tanks played a crucial role for Mumbai, which saw its daily demand for medical oxygen go up from 210 metric tonnes (MT) in the first wave to 270 (MT) in the past month alone.

The “Mumbai model” has won praise from both the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court. In picture - Medical oxygen tanks at the Goregaon NESCO jumbo Covid centre.(Bloomberg)
The “Mumbai model” has won praise from both the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court. In picture - Medical oxygen tanks at the Goregaon NESCO jumbo Covid centre.(Bloomberg)

The “Mumbai model” has won praise from both the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court. The apex court on Wednesday appreciated Mumbai’s efforts and recommended that the Centre and Delhi take a cue on how to handle oxygen supply in the face of the severe shortage that the Capital city has been facing for the past three weeks.

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So what did Mumbai do to control the crisis?

“Building the additional LMO tanks helped us cope during the second wave,” additional municipal commissioner P Velrasu said.

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In April, the city’s daily average cases had touched 7,786 and this is when the oxygen crisis was felt most keenly. That’s when the BMC announced that it would appoint six civic officials to act as coordinators between oxygen suppliers, assistant municipal commissioners of the 24 civic wards and the Food and Drug Administration. The officials will be responsible for maintaining the existing oxygen supply and also ensuring that the same is used sparingly.

Part of Mumbai’s oxygen supply model evolved to ensure the safe transportation of oxygen cylinders.

“Ward-level teams were formed to coordinate and move surplus oxygen from one site to another where there was a shortfall,” said Krishna H Perekar, BMC’s chief engineer (Mechanical and Electrical).

A resource inventory of oxygen use and infrastructure of the city’s public as well as private hospitals proved helpful, as Mumbai’s oxygen often needed to go to far-flung suburbs in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region, like Navi Mumbai and Thane, which also faced severe shortage of supply.

The civic body now plans to construct an oxygen generation plant at each hospital, so that the dependency of LMO and cylinders reduces. “We may still require LMO as they provide better pressure, mainly for patients in the Intensive Care Units,” said Velrasu. “But having oxygen plants at all facilities will reduce the dependency to a large extent,” he said. The BMC has announced that it would set up 16 oxygen generation plants in 12 hospitals across the city, each of which will produce an estimated 43MT of oxygen.

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