Ambassador of India to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra handed over a medical oxygen plant to the Minister of State for Health and Population Umesh Shrestha at a ceremony organised at the ministry today.

According to Embassy of Nepal, the support is a part of India's robust partnership with Nepal in tackling the COVID -19 pandemic. The medical oxygen plant has been installed at BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences and is designed to produce five litres per minute per person amounting to a total capacity of 960 LPM. It carries a capacity to serve 200 patients simultaneously.

At the ceremony, Ambassador Kwatra highlighted the significance of the deep-rooted and multifaceted partnership between India and Nepal and reiterated that this gift symbolised India's continued commitment to Nepal in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

State Minister Shrestha mentioned that the donation of oxygen plant was a critical health infrastructure that would reinforce Nepal's efforts in tackling the COV- ID-19 pandemic. He added that the assistance provided by the Government of India two decades ago in building BPKIHS in Dharan was an important milestone and the addition of oxygen plant today was another milestone that would go a long way in serving the people of Nepal, particularly in provinces 1 and 2.

Oxygen is a very important clinical gas in health care centres and hospitals for treatment of COVID-19 patients, as has been experienced during the second wave of the pandemic in both India and Nepal. With this, DEBEL Medical Oxygen Plant that has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation, hospitals now have the option of generating medical oxygen on-site, in a highly cost effective manner. India is the 4th country in the world to develop this technology, which utilises Pressure Swing Absorption technique and molecular sieve technology to generate oxygen directly from atmospheric air.

According to the embassy, the installation of the plant will help avoid the dependency of hospitals for scarce oxygen cylinders. This will help reduce the logistics of transporting cylinders and also ensure continuous and reliable oxygen supply available round-the-clock. The Government of India will continue to stand with Nepal and its people in fighting the pandemic and providing necessary assistance as best possible in accordance with our deep rooted bilateral ties, the embassy said.

A version of this article appears in the print on August 27 2021, of The Himalayan Times.