JSW Steel offers to provide 400 tonnes of oxygen a day to Karnataka hospitals

JSW Steel, which operates a steel mill in Ballari district, on Tuesday said it will supply 400 tonnes of liquefied oxygen a day to hospitals in Karnataka to treat Covid-19 patients in a sign of oxygen availability improving in the next couple of days.

The development followed a meeting between mines and geology minister Murugesh R Nirani and the JSW management led by deputy managing director Vinod Nowal.

After the number of Covid cases began to surge in Bengaluru, it led to a severe shortage of oxygen, and even deaths. The overwhelming number of cases and shortage of oxygen choked the health system in the state.

Nirani held a meeting with representatives of several steel mills that produce liquefied oxygen in their plants for use in steel making. The minister asked the companies to produce oxygen in large quantifies to address the public health emergency.

As on April 14, the number of oxygenated beds in Karnataka was 39,549, besides an additional 9,000 ICU beds, beds with ventilators etc. The state requires about 1,239 tons of oxygen per day.

About 11.5% of active cases in Karnataka require oxygen beds, according to the latest data.

There are seven major manufacturers of liquid oxygen in Karnataka: Bhoruka Gases, two units of Praxair India one in Ballari and another in Koppal, Air Waters India, Bellary Oxygen, Universal Air Products, JSW Industrial Gases. These plants produce over 800 tons of liquid oxygen per day.

The daily consumption of medical oxygen in Karnataka was 198 tons till April 14, which has now crossed 250 tons.

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