Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has laid a foundation stone virtually for the construction of the country’s first liquid oxygen plant which is expected to help substitute oxygen import from India.
“As they will be insufficient at the time of a pandemic, the liquid oxygen plant will be important in meeting the deficit in oxygen supplies,” Oli said during the virtual inauguration ceremony Sunday.
Shankar Oxygen Gas Pvt. Ltd, the sole importer of liquid oxygen in Nepal, is setting up its own liquid oxygen plant in the southwestern city of Bhairahawa, reports Xinhua news agency.
Covering an area of 3,716 square metres, the plant will have a production capacity of 60 tons per day, according to the company.
The excess production could be exported to neighbouring countries and used in the industrial sector once the Covid-19 pandemic is over, said Oli.
Some hospitals in Nepal which were relying on imported liquid oxygen were forced to resort to bottled oxygen for several days last month after Indian authorities ordered a halt to exports due to a surging demand for oxygen at home to cope with a deadly second wave of the pandemic.
In May, some Nepal hospitals had to turn away Covid patients due to an acute shortage of medical oxygen and beds as 8,000-9,000 new cases were reported in most days of the month after a second wave hit the nation in April.
In response, the Nepal government had made it mandatory for hospitals with over 100 beds to establish their own oxygen plants.