As Covid cases rise, Assam to get oxygen from Bhutan

“Every day, forty metric tonnes of liquid oxygen produced by the plant will be exported to Assam using cryogenic tankers,” a statement from the Indian embassy in Bhutan said.

Assam will get oxygen from a plant in Samdrup Jongkhar, a Bhutan border town around a 2.5-hour drive from Guwahati, to gear up for the emerging Covid-19 situation, an official announcement by the Indian embassy in Bhutan on Tuesday said.

On Monday, Assam reported 3,137 fresh cases, a positivity rate of 4.29 per cent. Amidst an increasing trend of Covid cases in the state, the Assam government announced a night curfew from Tuesday night 8pm to 5am, barring essential services, till May 1.

“In the context of the present COVID situation, Bhutan will supply liquid oxygen to India from a new plant being set up at the Motanga Industrial Estate, Samdrup Jongkhar district by M/s S.D. Cryogenics Gases Pvt. Ltd., a Bhutanese company,” a statement from the Indian embassy in Bhutan said.

“Every day, forty metric tonnes of liquid oxygen produced by the Oxygen Plant will be exported to Assam using cryogenic tankers. The oxygen plant has domestic investment of 51% by M/s S D Cryogenics and FDI component of 49% by Meghalaya Oxygen Pvt. Ltd., an Assam-based Indian company,” it added.

“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,” it further said.

At a press conference in Guwahati on Tuesday, Assam’ health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said talks have been held between India and Bhutan to complete the construction of the plant.
Sarma had said that India External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar had spoken to Bhutan and a decree has been issued by the neighbouring country that work on the plant must continue even if there is a lockdown. “In the coming 45 days, that 50MT plant will be ready,” Sarma said.

Sarma added that as of now, Assam’s oxygen requirement due to Covid patients is 20 MT per day, while the capacity at hand has reached 61 MT per day. Moreover, the state’s oxygen storage capacity is currently at 468 MT.

Assam recently saw campaigning and voting for its Assembly elections, results to which will be declared on May 2.

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