Monday, May 23, 2022

COVID: In India, PSUs are leading the charge against #OxygenShortage from the front

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  • SAIL has supplied over 41,000 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and has stepped up daily supply to 900 MT

  • GAIL (India) Ltd is setting up oxygen plants at 10 locations, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) will set up plants at four locations in Bihar

New Delhi: One of the biggest challenges being faced by India as it battles a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections is the shortage of oxygen and to help the country in mitigating the crisis, Indian PSUs are leading the charge from the front. Right from scaling down industrial operations to divert oxygen towards COVID hospitals to setting up oxygen generation plants and distribution facilities and providing financial assistance to state governments for facilitating these services, PSUs have left no stone unturned for addressing the acute shortage of oxygen that has cost several lives over the course of the past few weeks.

PSUs divert oxygen for COVID-19 hospitals

According to data compiled by the Standing Conference of Public Enterprises (SCOPE), PSUs like Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) and Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) have diverted oxygen from their plants towards COVID-19 hospitals. SAIL has supplied over 41,000 MT of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) and has stepped up daily supply to 900 MT. BHEL is supplying oxygen to hospitals in Bhopal and Haridwar, upgrading supply to 22,000 Cubic Metres per day.

RINL has supplied 1,300 MT of oxygen so far via Oxygen Express, IOC has diverted oxygen from its refineries to hospitals in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab and is also converting its LNG tankers into oxygen carriers to ensure reliable transportation and last-mile connectivity. 

Oxygen generation plants & distribution facilities for COVID-19 patients

In order to address the oxygen crisis in the country, the Central government has asked oil PSUs to set up Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) medical oxygen generation plants at 93 locations in India. In line with this directive, GAIL (India) Ltd is setting up plants at 10 locations, Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) will set up plants at four locations in Bihar, Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) will set up 12 oxygen generation plants across six states, and Rashtriya Chemicals & Fertilizers Ltd (RCF) has also been tasked with setting up these plants.

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Asia’s largest coal miner Coal India Ltd (CIL) has scaled up emergency utility equipment with over 1,400 oxygen cylinders. Cochin Shipyard Ltd (CSL) has helped set up centralised oxygen distribution facilities at five government hospitals in Kerala. Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) is providing oxygen points and ventilators at Bengaluru and Lucknow. Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has provided financial assistance for oxygen plants, pipelines and cylinders, SJVN has donated ventilators to hospitals in Shimla, Rampur and Khaneri in Himachal Pradesh and NLC India Ltd has doubled the number of oxygen beds to 100 at the NLCIL hospital.

The backdrop

The country is facing a severe crisis in the availability of Oxygen for the treatment of COVID-19 patients. Over the past few days, several patients in Maharashtra and Delhi have died due to a shortage of oxygen. In order to address the crisis, the government has waived off customs duty on import of Oxygen and Oxygen equipment for three months. It has also directed all ports to waive off charges on cargo carrying oxygen for a period of three months.

(PSU Watch– India's Business News centre that places the spotlight on PSUs, Bureaucracy, Defence and Public Policy is now on Telegram & Twitter as well. Join PSU Watch Channel in your Telegram and follow us on Twitter to stay updated)

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