Steel and petroleum PSUs lead the oxygen battle in the country

Over the past few days, public sector companies under the steel and petroleum ministries have come forward to augment the supply of medical oxygen across the country.

At present, total oxygen production in India is around 7,000 to 7,200 MT per day. Out of this, these two sectors contribute 4,000 to 4,500 MT of oxygen and supply it to several states and individual hospitals.

Union minister for steel and petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan is monitoring oxygen production on a daily basis and his team is ensuring everything from production to coordination with states and other union ministries for supply.

Steel plants are producing oxygen more than capacity as steel production and production of liquid nitrogen and argon have been reduced.

Safety stock is usually kept for 3.5 days, that has been reduced to 0.5 days. The plants are now ready to even dip into that safety stock to meet the increased supply.

On Saturday, steel PSUs dispatched 2,894 tonnes of oxygen as against 1,500 to 1,700 MT per day, a week earlier. Till April 24, through its five steel plants in Bokaro, Durgapur, Rourkela, Bhilai and Burnpur, SAIL has supplied 39,647 MT medical oxygen starting from August last year.

Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (RINL), another PSU under the steel ministry is also supplying around 140 tonnes of medical oxygen per day. The First Oxygen Express had left RINL Vizag Steel Plant site on April 22, carrying 100 tonnes of oxygen to Maharashtra.

The oil PSUs have also directly responded to the SOS calls from hospitals like Gangaram, Fortis, Metro and Kailash hospitals in NCR and other hospitals in many states.

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Oil PSUs are in the process of setting up Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen plants at 93 locations across the country to facilitate captive oxygen generation facilities at hospitals to strengthen the availability and supply of medical grade oxygen.

“Under the guidance of PM Modi, the message has gone to companies to ensure transportation and augmentation of supplies in whatever way possible,” Pradhan told ET. “Refineries and steel plants have maximised the production of liquid medical oxygen by reducing their own demand for industrial use.”



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