Oxygen Express. Photo: ANI On Tuesday, the East Central Railway sent a thank-you note to Rohan Verma, CEO of MapmyIndia. The small but thoughtful gesture from the zonal railway, which is busy transporting oxygen, a lifeline for thousands of Covid patients, was encouraging for the company that is using technology to track oxygen
supplies to medical units.
The East Central Railway touches Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. While Jharkhand is a production centre for oxygen, the other states are big consumers that fall on vital rail links on which the Oxygen
Express trains are running. And MapmyIndia’s free-of-charge initiative is helping prevent any diversion and pilferage by tracking oxygen
tankers through its global positioning system (GPS).
A GPS-enabled device, installed on each vehicle transporting oxygen, transmits tracking data via a cellular or satellite network. The device delivers the data to Track Your Truck’s app, NetTrack, and can be accessed via web at any time.
“We have been a tracking company for all kinds of vehicles,” says Verma. “In the last three weeks, we realised there were bottlenecks in the oxygen supply chain and if the chain breaks, it can have a cascading effect.” His company is equipping vehicles with field installers that have chips (connected to servers) to track the movement of oxygen.
State governments, including Delhi that is facing acute oxygen shortage, have reached out to the company as have smaller cities.
Oxygen producers like Steel Authority of India (SAIL), which is supplying 600 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) a day from five of its plants in Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal (two plants) and Chhattisgarh, leave it to the transporter to track it. The transporter could be a tanker operator, the Indian Railways or specialised industrial gas manufacturers like Linde and Inox. SAIL has recently dispatched LMO from its Rourkela (Odisha) and Bokaro plants (Jharkhand).
Private steel companies like Tata Steel, ArcelorMittal, Nippon Steel, JSW Steel, Jindal Steel and Power and Vedanta are also supplying LMO after a government order asked them to. JSW Steel and JSPL say they are supplying 185 tonnes and 100 tonnes per day, respectively. And Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd is transporting 100 tonnes a day.