Amid the crises of the second wave of Covid-19, the landlocked nation- Bhutan has committed to supply 40 MT of Liquid Oxygen a day to India from the Motanga Industrial Park in Samdrup Jongkhar bordering Assam.
As India suffers oxygen shortage, help poured in from various countries, including Bhutan, which will be exporting life-saving gas to Assam using cryogenic tankers.
A letter by the Indian Embassy in Bhutan stated, “The provision of oxygen by Bhutan will augment India’s efforts to win the fight against COVID-19 and save precious lives. This is a practical manifestation of the uniquely close and friendly ties between India and Bhutan.”
The Bhutan plant is being set up by Guwahati-based PJ Kochar in partnership with a Bhutanese national.
It needs to be mentioned here that the construction work of the plant had started a year ago and had been halted due to the pandemic. A delegation from Assam has recently visited the plant to study the possibilities of resumption of work at the earliest.
The team comprising of Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika and Member of Parliament Biswajit Daimary under the direction of the State Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma visited the site who informed that the plant which is coming up at Samdrup Jongkhar when completed shall supply 50 MT (metric tonne) of oxygen to Assam per day which help mitigate the problem of oxygen shortage.
Hazarika further informed that the matter has been taken up the Health Minister Sarma with the Centre to exploit the possibilities to allow workers from Assam or the country to move into the plant. “If that can be done, then we can complete the plant in 40 days and get a supply of 50MT of oxygen per day which will be of great help at this time of crisis,” he added.
As per a report in Kuensel Online (a Bhutanese Daily), sources from the foreign ministry said that the Motanga-based SD Cryogenic Gases Pvt Ltd, which is an FDI company could not be completed due to the ongoing pandemic. It further mentioned that once completed, the factory will produce liquid oxygen and nitrogen to address domestic and international needs.
The report says that the physical progress at the plant was around 15 percent and currently some 15 Bhutanese and three expatriate workers were constructing the plant.
Meanwhile, the Centre has approved 13 Oxygen Plants for five Northeastern States. These 13 plants are among the 551 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen generation plants to be set up inside public health facilities across the country.
The PM Cares Fund has given in-principle approval for allocation of funds for the installation of the plants.
However, there is no mention of the three other Northeastern states – Sikkim, Tripura and Assam – in the approved plans
The Centre on Sunday cleared the allocation of funds for installation of 551 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants inside public health facilities in the country. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has directed that these plants should be made functional as soon as possible. He said that these plants will serve as a major boost to oxygen availability at the district level.