DRDO to set up five oxygen plants in and around Delhi by this weekend

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The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will set up five oxygen plants, out of the total 500 planned, in and around Delhi by this weekend, the Defence Ministry said on Tuesday.

"These plants are to be installed at AIIMS Trauma Centre, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RML), Safdarjung Hospital, Lady Hardinge Medical College and one at AIIMS, Jhajjar, Haryana," the ministry stated.

India is struggling with the second wave of the coronavirus infection as hospitals in several states are reeling under a severe shortage of oxygen, drugs, equipment and beds.

The Defence Ministry said that as per its schedule, two of the aforementioned five plants reached Delhi on Tuesday and were being installed at AIIMS and RML Hospitals, respectively.

"These two plants have been supplied by Trident Pneumatics Pvt. Ltd., Coimbatore, which is the technology partner of DRDO and has been given an order of 48 plants," it explained.

On April 28, the DRDO had announced that it will set up 500 medical oxygen plants within the next three months from the allocation made by the PM Cares Fund.

The DRDO said it had transferred its medical oxygen plant (MOP) technology -- developed for on-board oxygen generation in Tejas fighter jet -- to Trident as well as Bengaluru-based Tata Advanced Systems Limited so that these two companies can set up a total 380 out of 500 plants.

Trident and Tata will install 48 and 332 plants, respectively, it had said. Remaining 120 plantswill be set up by industries working with the Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun.

On Tuesday, the DRDO said, "Order of 332 plants have been placed with Tata Advanced Systems Limited and the delivery will start from midMay. The delivery schedule is being monitored very closely to deliver before the plants time. Sites are being prepared at each hospital in parallel.

In yet another hospital tragedy in the country in recent days, 24 patients, 23 of them COVID-infected, died in Karnataka's Chamarajanagar on Monday due to alleged oxygen shortage in the district hospital.

Earlier on Saturday, 12 COVID-19 patients, including the HoD of the gastroenterology department of Batra Hospital in Delhi, died allegedly due to oxygen shortage.

India's total tally of COVID-19 cases has crossed the 2-crore mark with over 50 lakh infections being added in just 15 days.

The total tally of coronavirus cases in the country mounted to 2,02,82,833 with 3,57,229 new infections being reported in a day, while the death toll increased to 2,22,408 with 3,449 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

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