Ranjan Kumar Dhar demonstrating his low-cost oxygen concentrator device Credit: EastMojo Image

Agartala: Adversity can often lead to innovation. After his mother tested positive for novel coronavirus, Ranjan Kumar Dhar was inspired to devise a low-cost oxygen concentrator which he calls ‘Life Plus India’ to help those fighting COVID-19 virus.

“My mother had tested positive for COVID-19 with respiratory issues, and it was painful for me to see her fighting the virus. That was the moment when I decided to devise a low-cost oxygen concentrator,” Ranjan Kumar Dhar told EastMojo.

His mother, Kanika Dhar, was discharged nine days after being admitted in the state’s only COVID-19 centre at the Govind Ballabh Pant (GBP) Hospital.

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“I was shocked to see that an oxygen concentrator cost Rs 65,000, while the oxygen cylinder cost Rs 1,500 for rent every day. I was always fond of trying things with electrical appliances. So, I decided to try and make an oxygen concentrator,” Dhar said.

The 38-year-old goldsmith, a resident of Jogendranagar village in the outshirts of Agartala, could not complete his matriculation. He spends most of his time in a small room, which he calls his innovation room, trying to make things out of damaged materials by reading books, watching YouTube tutorials and consulting with technicians and engineers.

Ranjan Kumar Dhar with his mother Kanika Dhar

“I have used a few water bottles, a damaged water purifier, a humidifier bottle, few exhaust fans from a computer store, switches and a circuit to devise the low-cost oxygen concentrator. The device cost me one-third of the existing machines in the market,” Dhar added.

Dhar has also written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting to consider testing his device and adopt the machine and use it nationwide under the make in India initiative.

“I want to dedicate the machine to the nation for the service of the poor. India will go ahead only if every person goes ahead. I am working on another project on portable oxygen concentrators. I want experts to test my device and see if that fits the requirement and standard,” Dhar opined.

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He also said that millions of poor have suffered respiratory problems after being tested positive for COVID-19 and since they cannot afford an oxygen concentrator. His device would cost nearly Rs 20,000 in comparison to existing machines at the cost of Rs 65,000.

Dhar claimed that he has tested the oxygen concentrator on himself and has seen positive results.

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“I have inhaled the oxygen produced with a nasal duct and observed a significant rise in oxygen level after testing the machine on myself. The reading of the pulse oximetry showed good results. So I am going to check the oxygen quality produced in this machine,” Dhar added.

When contacted with experts, an on-duty officer said that they had not received any information on this regard. However, they would like to see if that really works and can be used after approval from the concerned authorities.

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