COVID scourge: J&K Govt approves Rs 223 crore oxygen plants project

File photo of a doctor setting Oxygen levels at a government hospital in Srinagar

Srinagar: More than 37 hospitals will be equipped with the state-of-the-art oxygen plants in the next four months.

Jammu and Kashmir government has floated tenders for the Rs 223 crore project. Under the project, all associated hospitals, district hospitals, and some Primary Health Centers (PHCs) will be covered under the project.

“Tenders have been floated and bids are being received. In week’s time, work will be allotted to the people. Around 37 hospitals in Jammu and Kashmir will have dedicated oxygen plant in the next four months,” Atal Dulloo, Financial Commissioner, Health and Medical Education, told The Kashmir Monitor.

Jammu and Kashmir is reeling under the scarcity of medical oxygen resulting in delayed treatment for patients. Particularly in the Jammu division, the oxygen crisis has reached an alarming proportion given the increased number of COVID 19 cases. Even Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha paid a surprise visit to the Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu, to take stock of the situation after receiving complaints about the shortage of oxygen.

“Fifty percent of the project cost stand released. The basic aim of having oxygen plants in all hospitals is to avoid referrals from districts. When you have oxygen and other facilities available, the referrals will be reduced to a large extent,” said Dulloo.

Oxygen is the drug of choice for any critically ill patient irrespective of etiology and the first-line drug for COVID bilateral pneumonia. Many patients suffering from COVID induced pneumonia need oxygen therapy.

 “Oxygen is always needed. We have seen that in pandemic oxygen is even more important. We want to set up ICUs and need dedicated oxygen supply,” Dulloo said.

Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) President Dr Nissar-ul-Hassan said pandemic is raging like anything and setting up oxygen plants should have been done well in advance. “Oxygen points are minuscule in tertiary care. If the government is equipping the hospital with dedicated oxygen pant, it is a good thing,” he said.

Jammu and Kashmir has 81793 positive cases. Of whom 11482 are Active Positive and 69020 have recovered. The death toll has reached 1291. Of whom 409 have died in the Jammu division and 882 in the Kashmir division.

Till October 8, 607830 persons have been enlisted for observation. They included 26357 persons under home quarantine, 11482 in isolation, and 47862 under home surveillance. Besides, 520838 persons have completed their surveillance period.

Jammu and Kashmir have become one of the top-ranking states and union territories to conduct the highest number of COVID 19 tests per million population. Of the 1780540 tests conducted, 1698747 samples have come back negative till October 8.