Jignesh Mevani inaugurates Gujarat’s largest oxygen plant

Published : August 30, 2021 13:54 IST

Jignesh Mevani (extreme right) at the inauguration of the plant. Photo: By Special Arrangement

The oxygen plant in Chhapi village in Banaskantha district. Photo: By Special Arrangement

Jignesh Mevani, an independent Member of the Legislative Assembly representing Vadgam, inaugurated Gujarat’s biggest oxygen plant in his constituency on August 28. The plant has been set up at a Primary Health Centre in Chhapi village of Vadgam taluka in Banaskantha district. It has the capacity to service the entire district, said an official statement from Mevani.

The plant has the capacity to refill over 800 jumbo oxygen cylinders a day, producing approximately eight cubic metric tonnes of oxygen in a single day.

Mevani, who has relentlessly pursued the installation of an oxygen plant in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 which took a massive toll in Gujarat, says: “After a struggle of more than three months and wading through the red tape of a hostile State government, efforts have finally brought concrete results and with the wholehearted support of the people, we have finally set up Gujarat’s biggest oxygen plant for people in Vadgam constituency.”

Mevani added in his statement: “The second wave of COVID-19 caught us off-guard with an unusually high demand for oxygen. We immediately set up a crowdfunding campaign to build an oxygen plant on a war-footing with the help of a non-government organisation [NGO]. However the authorities froze the account of the NGO, which remains inaccessible till date. We approached Hon'ble High Court to allow us to use funds from my MLA grant for building the plant under special conditions. Despite these hurdles, we have been successful in creating accessible healthcare infrastructure for the people of Vadgam. No one will ever have to struggle for oxygen in my constituency or, for that matter, the entire Banaskantha district.”

The independent MLA had told Frontline a few months ago that as an elected legislator he was determined to help his constituency in battling COVID and that the installation of an oxygen plant would be a priority project. Following the inauguration, Mevani said there was much more to be done but this was a big move in the right direction. Hopefully, other legislators would follow this path. Mevani is the first MLA to take a proactive role that involved community participation in COVID management in Gujarat.