Centre’s plan to ban industrial oxygen may have been in good spirit but has resulted in halting production in the country’s largest oxygen cylinder manufacturing units, mostly in Gandhidham, Gujarat, over the last 10 days.
According to an exclusive report by The Indian Express, these cylinder-manufacturing units were included in the ban on the use of industrial oxygen and despite a Ministry of Home Affairs “clarification” on April 27 that liquid oxygen should be supplied to oxygen-cylinder manufacturers, the ban is yet to be lifted.
Manoj Das, Additional Chief Secretary to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told Indian Express, “Our first priority is to give available oxygen to (Covid) patients; especially, those needing oxygen support…We are just barely managing somehow. As soon as we get additional allocation, we would definitely like to help them. We are working with them.”
Meanwhile, oxygen crisis deepened in certain parts of Karnataka on Tuesday, with the deaths of seven COVID patients in Kalaburagi and Belagavi allegedly due to oxygen shortage. Four people died in the morning in Kalaburagi government hospital and three in Belagavi government hospital allegedly due to shortage of the life saving gas.
India’s largest manufacturer of industrial and medical gases INOX Air Products has said in the next couple of weeks there will be adequate supply of oxygen across the nation with production capacity and transportation issues being sorted out.
According to INOX Air Products Director Siddharth Jain, an empowered group formed by the Centre for oxygen allocation in April last year had actually made estimations very close to quantum of medical oxygen being consumed at present but did not go into micro planning of state wise demand as it was done at a macro level of countrywide demand.
Delhi’s medical oxygen supply on Monday stood at around 447 MT, significantly less than the Centre’s allocated quantity of 590 MT. Despite an acute shortage and repeated demands to the Centre in view of a large number of serious COVID-19 patients, the supply of medical oxygen has failed to take off in a big way in Delhi.