New Delhi: In a bid to meet the potential increase in demand for medical oxygen to address the anticipated crisis of further waves of the pandemic in the country, the Centre on Sunday launched 'Project O2 for India' to step up the production of medical oxygen and ensure the country has adequate supply in the future.
'Project O2 for India', an initiative of the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India (GoI), aims to ensure supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, and manufacturing of compressors.
In a statement, the Office of Principal Scientific Adviser to GoI noted that the second wave of COVID-19 saw an increase in demand for medical oxygen in different parts of the country.
"Under Project O2 for India, a National Consortium of Oxygen is enabling the national level supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, manufacturing compressors, final products, i.e., oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators," the statement read.
The consortium is not only looking forward to providing immediate to short-term relief but also working to strengthen the manufacturing ecosystem for long-term preparedness.
A committee of experts has been evaluating critical equipment such as oxygen plants, concentrators, and ventilators from a pool of India-based manufacturers, start-ups, and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
The manufacturing and supply consortium includes Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL); Tata Consulting Engineers (TCE); C-CAMP, Bengaluru; IIT Kanpur; IIT Delhi; IIT Bombay, IIT Hyderabad; IISER, Bhopal; Venture Center, Pune; and more than 40 MSMEs, it said.
The consortium has started to secure CSR/philanthropic grants from organisations like USAID, Edwards Life sciences Foundation, Climate Works Foundation, etc, it said.
Hope Foundation, American Indian Foundation, Walmart, Hitachi, BNP Paribas, and eInfoChips are procuring oxygen concentrators and VPSA/PSA plants as part of their CSR efforts to aid the consortium's work.
NMDC Ltd has agreed to fund the procurement of raw materials like zeolite for the manufacturers in the consortium, it added.