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India COVID-19 crisis: Japan, UNDP reach out to northeast states with oxygen

DNA logo DNA 11-05-2021 dnawebdesk@gmail.com (DNA Web Desk)
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The Japanese government and the United Nations Development Programme or UNDP have partnered to provide Oxygen to India's northeast, specifically by procuring eight Pressure Swing Absorption (PSA) oxygen generation plants. The development comes even as India faces a devastating surge of COVID impacting many through the length and breadth of the country. The Oxygen Generation plants will be installed in the North Eastern states of Meghalaya, Nagaland, and Tripura. Together these Oxygen plants can support 1,300 beds.

Japanese envoy to India, Satoshi Suzuki said, "Japan stands with India, our friend, and partner, in her efforts to fight against COVID-19 pandemic in this critical time", highlighting, "India’s North East occupies a special place for Japan-India relations and I sincerely hope that the Oxygen generation plants will help those people in need in the North Eastern Region of India”

As of now, installation sites are being prepared so that Oxygen Production can start as soon as possible. Meanwhile, any excess oxygen will be distributed to health facilities near the installation plant. Amid the covid crisis, India's focus has been to get Oxygen or Oxygen production and carrying units like generators and tankers. Over the weekend, Japan has gifted 100 Oxygen concentrators to India and has told New Delhi that it is ready to provide additional items worth $50 million to deal with COVID crisis. 

Resident Representative of UNDP India Shoko Noda said, “I would like to thank the people of Japan for this critical support that will allow UNDP to ensure uninterrupted flow of oxygen in hospitals and health centers in the region, especially those in hard-to-reach areas."

It is important to remember that Japan's support to India's northeast is not new and the country is developing mega infrastructure and connectivity projects in the region, which could in future connect to neighboring countries like Bangladesh. Both sides also meet regularly under the Act East Forum that is co-chaired by Foreign secretary Harsh Shringla and the Japanese envoy to India Suzuki Satoshi. Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) stands at over Rs 1600 cr in India's northeast and is supporting projects in several states in the north east. For example in Guwahati is helping in sewerage projects, in Sikkim road development. Japan is also supporting the construction of the Dhubri-Phulbari bridge whose foundation laying ceremony took place earlier this year. The bridge is going to be the longest river bridge in India and will cut short travel time across the Brahmaputra River from more than 8 hours to less than 30 minutes. 

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