While the metros gasp for oxygen to support critical Covid-19 patients, a team of engineers of Banas Dairy in Banaskantha district in North Gujarat surprised many by setting up an oxygen plant in 72 hours flat to help its district medical college tide over the severe shortage of the gas.


The Dairy-supported Banas Medical College & Research Institute at Palanpur faced a severe crisis last weekend, running short of oxygen for 125 Covid in-patients. The situation was saved by managing to get some cylinders.

“We thought, how long should we depend on the external sources? We wanted to make some arrangement of our own,” Shankar Chaudhary, Chairman of Banaskantha District Cooperative Milk Union (Banas Dairy), told Businessline . “With the help of our team and vendors, we got the plant running in 72 hours,” he said.

It generates oxygen equivalent to 70 jumbo oxygen cylinders or 680 kg, sufficient for 35-40 patients for a day.

Narrating the experience of erecting the plant, Bipin Patel, Senior GM, said the Dairy’s team of officers and engineers started to explore ways to set up a mini-oxygen plant.

“We were running against time. Our current vendor could build the plant but didn’t have component such as air-compressors and air-dryer. But we asked him to start building the plant even as we swung to arrange for the missing equipment,” he said. Cost wasn’t a factor.

Pressure-swing tech

The plant uses the pressure-swing technology to extract oxygen from air, which has 21 per cent oxygen and 78 per cent nitrogen and other gases. “We need medical grade oxygen with purity of 93-96 per cent. And we could successfully achieve that. Now, our team can focus on core medical work rather than wasting their energy in these peripheral work,” said Patel. To completely become self-reliant in oxygen supplies, the dairy plans to set up two more plants in the district.

Proving the truth in the proverb ‘Self-help is the best help’.