Egged on by embattled LDF Government, media outlets in Kerala fuel ‘oxygen scarcity’ fear among people to hide its failures in containing pandemic
The media outlets in Kerala have been going gaga over alleged oxygen scarcity in the State. To hide its failure to contain the bourgeoning COVID cases in the State, the Pinarayi Vijayan Government has been looking for opportunities to put the blame on the Centre.
This correspondent spoke to Dr R Venugopal, Deputy Chief Controller of Explosives, Petroleum & Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and Nodal Officer for Medical Oxygen Monitoring, Kerala and Lakshadweep.
DrVenugopal rejected the 'oxygen scarcity theory'. According to Dr Venugopal, PESO has assessed availability, locally and in neighbouring States considering storage capacity and movement constraints. It has also evaluated transport capacity, bulk tank availability, distances, road condition and security. Bulk tanks are supplier-specific. Smaller and portable tanks are often readily available, but larger tanks for permanent installation are considered.
Shri Venugopal claims that has made extensive evaluation of oxygen storage situation in hospitals. “We evaluated capacity to vaporise liquid oxygen into gas, either with existing installations or as component on smaller/portable tanks,” he said.
At present, Kerala is the only State that is having surplus oxygen. One reason for this could be that PESO Kerala succeeded in estimating the oxygen requirement of each patient and ensured optimal supply whereas this process has not been that rigorous in other States.
PESO, a department formed by the Government of India, is responsible for monitoring and ensuring ample supply of medical oxygen in the country. It is a 123 years old organization of Government of India. Chief Controller of Explosives has appointed nodal officers for the monitoring of oxygen and manufacturers at each states.The state government has also appointed nodal officers from State Health Department (DHS)t. The central government's PESO nodal officers and state government's DHS nodal officers work together in Kerala as a well-oiled machinery. The state government nodal officers verify the need from each districts and give data to the PESO nodal officers. The PESO nodal officer is the regulator of compressed gas plants under Explosives Act and Gas Cylinder Rules. He collects data from oxygen manufacturers and fillers and ensures that oxygen reaches the hospitals. This is team work by central and state government for a great cause.
Central Control Rooms have been set up by PESO at Faridabad, Nagpur and in other States. They monitor the oxygen manufacturing, storage and movement for medical purposes across country.