Steel Units in Punjab & Maharashtra Divert Oxygen for Medical Use
Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered shutdown of operations of iron and steel industries in Punjab to divert oxygen for medical use along with immediate establishment of Oxygen Control Rooms at the state and district levels amid the escalating oxygen crisis in the state. The action comes after 6 patients died of O2 shortage at a private hospital in Amritsar on Saturday. He also directed Amritsar Deputy Commissioner to initiate a thorough investigation into the tragic incident at the Amritsar hospital. The DC has been asked to ascertain the facts and circumstances leading to the deaths at the hospital, which prima facie seemed to have flouted orders given to all private hospitals with oxygen shortage to shift their patients to government medical colleges. Punjab has witnessed a sharp increase in demand over the past few days. Demand for Oxygen currently stands at 250 tonnes per day and is further expected to go up to 300 tonnes in the coming days on account of spiralling COVID cases.
Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court directed Nagpur divisional commissioner to requisition all the liquid oxygen, being produced by four steel plants in Maharashtra, for catering to the needs of Covid-19 patients across the state. The directors of the four plants at Bhandara, Thane, Pune and Dolvi in the Raigad district have been requested to agree to the arrangement to avoid compulsory requisitioning.
Meanwhile, JSW Steel said that it has supplied 898 tonnes average daily oxygen from its plants during April 21-23. It has been supplying 600 tonnes daily LMO from JSW's plants complex in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Kerala, Goa, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Marathwada region. Another 250 tonnes of oxygen daily was being supplied from its Dolvi Raigad Maharashtra plant to Mumbai Metropolitan Region, North Maharashtra, Nagpur, Pune, Kolhapur, Nanded, Sangli, Thane, Vasai Virar, and Panvel Raigad. JSW Steel is targeting to supply around 20,000 tonnes of liquid oxygen in April from its three plants in Maharashtra, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Government of India has directed all Major Ports to waive off all charges levied by Major Port Trusts, including vessel related charges, storage charges etc, and accord highest priority in the berthing sequence to the vessels carrying consignments of
Medical Grade Oxygen,
Portable Oxygen Generators,
Steel Pipes for manufacturing Oxygen Cylinders and associated equipment for the next 3 months, or until further orders.
India’s steel ministry announced that 2894 tonnes of Liquid Medical Oxygen were dispatched to different states on 24th April by Steel Plants in Public & Private Sector as against 1500-1700 tonnes per day a week earlier. Steel Ministry said “Total daily Medical Oxygen production capacity of steel plants is 2834 tonnes with 33 oxygen plants in both public & private sector. Captive Oxygen Plants in Integrated Steel Plants are designed to produce primarily gaseous products of Oxygen, Nitrogen and Argon and then routed through Pressure Reduction & Management System to meet the process need at desired pressure. Such plants can produce 5-6% maximum Liquid Oxygen at the peak capacity, which is a highly pure product compared to the industrial oxygen. Plants can only optimize LOX production by sacrificing some gaseous Oxygen and optimize process parameters.”