PM CARES Fund’s ₹322.5 crore for getting DRDO’s oxygen supply system

INS Tarkash arrives in Mumbai with oxygen supplies from Qatar.

The PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund has sanctioned the procurement of 1.5 lakh units of the Oxycare system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at a cost of ₹322.5 crore. Separately, naval ships continued to bring emergency supplies from friendly foreign countries to India.

The Oxycare system was developed by Defence Bio-Engineering and Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL), Bengaluru, of the DRDO for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas.

“The Oxycare system delivers supplemental oxygen based on the SpO2 levels and prevents the person from sinking into a state of hypoxia, which can be fatal,” a DRDO statement said on Wednesday. Under this sanction, 1,00,000 manual and 50,000 automatic Oxycare systems along with Non-Rebreather Masks (NRBM) are being procured, it stated.

Two variants

Two variants of the system have been configured, manual and automatic. The basic version consisted of a 10-litre cylinder, a pressure regulator-cum-flow controller, a humidifier and a nasal cannula. In the automatic configuration, the cylinder, equipped with electronic controls, automatically regulated the oxygen flow through a low-pressure regulator and a SpO2 probe, it explained.

The system optimised the consumption of oxygen and increased the endurance of portable cylinder. The automatic system also provideds suitable audio warning for various failure scenarios. “The NRBMs are integrated with the Oxycare Systems for efficient use of oxygen that results in saving oxygen by 30-40%,” the statement said. The DRDO had transferred the technology to multiple industries. who would be producing the Oxycare system, it added.

Supplies from West Asia

As part of operation ‘Samudra Setu II’, launched by the Navy, INS Tarkash arrived at Mumbai with two Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) filled (20 MT [metric tonne] each) cryogenic containers and 230 oxygen cylinders.

“The oxygen containers were facilitated by the French Mission as part of the “Oxygen Solidarity Bridge” and oxygen cylinders were gifted by Indian diaspora in Qatar,” the Navy said. The consignment was handed over to the Maharashtra civil administration.

On Tuesday, INS Kochi and INS Tabar reached the New Mangalore Port carrying 100 MT LMO in five containers and 1,200 oxygen cylinders from Kuwait. The shipment was handed over to the Indian Oil Corporation Limited authorities for further necessary action, the Navy stated.

While INS Jalashwa is presently in Brunei, INS Shardul is scheduled to enter Kuwait. The Navy has deployed nine ships for shipment of LMO and associated medical equipment from friendly foreign countries in the Persian Gulf and South East Asia under ‘Samudra Setu II’.

Continuing the air efforts, as on early hours of May 12, the Indian Air Force (IAF) transport aircraft airlifted 403 oxygen containers of 6,856 Metric Tonnes (MT) capacity along with other equipment of 163 MT capacity, in 634 sorties from different parts of the country, according to the Defence Ministry. The IAF aircraft have also conducted 98 sorties from different countries, airlifting 95 containers of 793 MT capacity and other equipment of 204 MT capacity.

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