Bokaro: The ‘Oxygen Express’ carrying Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) departed for Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from Bokaro on Friday afternoon. The train is carrying 50 tonnes of LMO from Bokaro Steel Plant (BSL), a SAIL unit situated in Jharkhand. It will reach Lucknow on Saturday. The officials of BSL, Railways and Administration spent a sleepless night to ensure timely departure of the Oxygen Express after filling of tankers in BSL.
Three tankers were loaded on the flat wagons of Oxygen Express. Each tanker contained 16 tonnes of LMO from BSL’s Captive Oxygen Plant and INOX operated Oxygen plant.
The Oxygen Express began its journey from Lucknow on Thursday and arrived at around 4 am on Friday at the Diesel Loco Shed of Bokaro Railway Station where a ramp was specially made for the loading and unloading of tankers. After filling of oxygen and loading of the tankers back on the wagons, it departed for Lucknow at 12.45 PM, said Prabhat Prasad, Area Railway Manager (ARM), Bokaro.
The tankers from Diesel Loco Shed were taken to BSL plant where liquid medical oxygen was filled at Captive plant and BOO plant operated by INOX Air products. A dedicated route was marked by authorities for tankers between Diesel Shed to BSL’s plant. In all, it took nearly nine hours to complete the oxygen filling process after tankers arrived on the train.
Director Incharge of BSL, Amarendu Prakash, said “Oxygen Plant in BSL produces around 150 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen per day. With country facing crisis of oxygen amid Covid surge, BSL has curtailed supply of liquid oxygen for industrial use and it’s entire LMO is being supplied for medical use in hospitals in Jharkhand and other states to help them treat Covid patients.
“In this month of April, BSL alone supplied 760 tonnes of LMO to Jharkhand, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Maharastra, and Madaya Pradesh by road transport. In the past 24 days span, 230 tonnes of liquid oxygen was sent to UP through road route,” said Manikant Dhan, Chief of Communication, BSL, who was present at the spot.
A Railway official said that the availability of oxygen is a key element in the treatment of certain medical conditions in the Covid infection. Assessing the growing shortage of oxygen in many places, Railways immediately explored the technical feasibility of transportation of liquid medical oxygen.
In order to ensure that parameters of transportation are tested, trials were conducted at various locations including Bokaro. Due to restrictions of height of Road Over Bridges (ROBs) and Over Head Equipment (OHE) at certain locations, out of the various specifications of road tankers, the model of road tanker T 1618 with a height of 3320 mm was found feasible to be placed on flat wagons (DBKM) with height of 1290 mm, said Railway sources.