New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With several states and union territories (UTs) facing acute oxygen shortage to treat COVID-19 patients, the central government on Friday announced that it will airlift 23 mobile oxygen generation plants from Germany.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said that each plant will produce 40 litres of oxygen per minute and 2,400 litres per hour, adding that they will be airlifted by the Indian Air Force from Germany within a week.

Noting that the IAF has been asked remain ready to keep its transport aircraft ready, the Defence Ministry said that India will likely airlift more oxygen generation plants from abroad over the next few days.

"The advantage of these plants is that they are easily portable," news agency PTI quoted Defence Ministry spokesperson A Bharat Bhushan Babu as saying.

India has been facing an acute shortage of oxygen in several states, including Maharashtra and Delhi. Amid the unprecedented situation, 25 COVID-19 patients on Friday lost their lives in Delhi's elite Sir Ganga Ram Hospital due to "low pressure oxygen".

However, the hospital has refuted that the patients died because of oxygen shortage. "It is wrong to say the deaths occurred due to oxygen shortage. We provided oxygen to patients manually when the pressure dipped in the ICU," PTI quoted SGRH Chairman Dr DS Rana as saying.

Amid this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday called for utilising the industry's full potential to meet the demand of medical oxygen in the coming days, saying there is a need to increase the availability of oxygen cylinders as well as to upgrade logistical facilities for its transportation.

In a virtual meeting with leading oxygen manufacturers, including Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, PM Modi urged the industry to utilise tankers meant to transport other gases for oxygen supply, saying the time now is not only to deal with the challenges but also to provide solutions in a very short time.

"PM Modi remarked that the government, the states, the industry and the transporters, and all the hospitals need to come together and work in unison. The better the synergy and coordination, the easier it will be able to deal with this challenge," the Centre said in a statement.

(With inputs from PTI)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma