An oxygen plant was inaugurated at the Siliguri district hospital — the second-largest state-run health establishment in Siliguri subdivision after North Bengal Medical College and Hospital — on Wednesday.
Hospital superintendent Pradeepta Bhattacharya said work for setting up the plant started on the hospital premises last October.
“There was no crisis or major demand for oxygen during the third wave of Covid-19. Even then, it was necessary to get the plant ready and it was commissioned yesterday (Wednesday). Now that we have the plant, the hospital has become self-sufficient in oxygen,” the superintendent said.
Last year, a similar plant was installed at the NBMCH that catered to a number of Covid patients, especially during the second wave.
Himadri Roy, a biomechanical engineer in charge of the plant at the hospital, said the plant has an oxygen production capacity of 500 litres per minute.
“However, the daily average oxygen requirement at the hospital is at best 350-400 litres per minute. Thus, even if there is a rise in the demand at any time, additional oxygen can be supplied from the plant. It will also reduce the cost that the hospital had to bear by way of oxygen cylinders,” said Roy.
A source in the Darjeeling district health department said though they would broadly not need oxygen cylinder supplies, some cylinders would be kept stored at the hospital for emergencies.
“If the plant breaks down or develops a snag, we need to have oxygen supply on an emergency basis. That is why some cylinders would be kept in stock,” said a source.
Tulsi Pramanik, the chief medical officer of health of Darjeeling, Ranjan Sarkar, the deputy mayor and Dulal Dutta, the MMIC (health) of Siliguri Municipal Corporation, were present at the launch on Wednesday.
The health department is setting up similar plants in Darjeeling and Kalimpong district hospitals as well, said sources.