The Center allocated PM CARES Fund to the CMSS, a Center's autonomous body, to install PSA oxygen plants across India, not to the state governments,
Amid a massive second wave of COVID-19, many hospitals in India run out of medical oxygen. Several media outlets blamed state governments for the delay in installing oxygen plants as the Center announced Rs. 201.58 crores from the PM CARES Fund to install oxygen plants. On January 5, 2021, the amount was sanctioned to build 162 dedicated Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) Medical Oxygen Generation Plants in public health facilities. However, the Center did not allocate the funds to states to set up oxygen plants in district hospitals.
The Central Medical Services Society (CMSS), a body under the Union Ministry of Health, was responsible for assessing the bids, verifying the eligibility of bidders, and selecting vendors. Therefore, the selected vendors were responsible for the installation of the oxygen plants. As of April 18, Out of 162 PSA plants sanctioned by the Center, 33 have already been installed. 5 in Madhya Pradesh, 4 in Himachal Pradesh, 3 each in Chandigarh, Gujarat, and Uttarakhand, 2 each in Bihar, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu; and 1 each in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Kerala, Maharashtra, Puducherry, Punjab & Uttar Pradesh.
In October 2020, the CMSS invited tenders to install 150 pressure swing adsorption (PSA) oxygen plants through funds that entirely came from PM-Cares. The tender document states the vendor was expected to supply the goods to install the plant "within a minimum required 45 days" or as stipulated in the purchase order (ref page no. 26). But according to The Hindu, after a row over the supply of vaccines and key drug Remdesivir, Maharashtra and the Central government have disagreements over-allotment of money to construct oxygen plants in the State.
The Maharashtra Congress spokesperson Atul Londhe said, "It was a Central government scheme, and not a single rupee was given to the State government. The Centre was going to construct those plants. Even though ten districts had been chosen, the Central government did not move ahead even with the tender process."
Meanwhile, on April 18, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare announced that only 33 (PSA) oxygen plants had been set up around the country. Further, it added saying another 59 will be installed by April end, and 80 by May end.
Therefore, the Central Government allocated the fund to the CMSS for 162 PSA oxygen plants to be built out of the PM-Cares funds.
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