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Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday sanctioned the procurement of 100,000 portable oxygen concentrators from the PM Cares Fund. The decision was taken at a high-level meeting on the measures required to improve liquid medical oxygen (LMO) supply for covid management.

Modi said the oxygen concentrators should be procured at the earliest and provided to states with a high case burden. In addition to the 713 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants sanctioned on Monday, 500 more such plants will be built with funds from PM Cares, the prime minister’s office said on Wednesday.

“The PSA plants will augment supply of LMO at hospitals in district headquarters and tier-2 cities. The 500 PSA plants will be established with transfer of indigenous technology developed by DRDO and CSIR to domestic manufacturers," the PMO said.

“Establishing PSA plants and procurement of portable oxygen concentrators will greatly augment the supply of oxygen near the demand clusters, thereby addressing the current logistical challenges in transporting oxygen from plants to hospitals," it added.

Meanwhile, minister of state for ports, shipping and waterways, and chemical and fertilizers Mansukh Mandaviya held a meeting with state-owned fertilizers companies, as well as those run by private entities and cooperatives to explore the possibility of producing oxygen at their plants.

Mandaviya urged companies to augment the supply of medical-grade oxygen to hospitals. IFFCO is putting up an oxygen plant to produce 200 cubic metres per hour at its Kalol unit. Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals, and Gujarat Narmada Valley Fertilisers and Chemicals have also started supplying liquid medical oxygen. A few other fertilizer manufacturers are also setting up plants inside hospital premises at selected locations as part of their corporate social responsibility funding.

The firms are expected to contribute 50 metric tonnes of medical oxygen per day.

Meanwhile, India’s covid-19 burden continued to rise with the country reporting at least 360,960 new cases in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said. Ten states accounted for 73.59% of the new cases, with Maharashtra reporting the highest daily tally of 66,358 cases, followed by UP at 32,921 and Kerala with 32,819 cases.

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