Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Employees urge govt to restart NINL’s idle Oxygen Plant for COVID-19 patients

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  • NINL has an oxygen plant with a capacity to produce 418 tonnes of Oxygen per day

  • The oxygen plant at NINL was commissioned in April 2013

New Delhi: The executives association at state-run Neelanchal Ispat Nigam Ltd (NINL) has urged the government to restart the PSU’s Oxygen Plant in order to address the crisis of Oxygen availability for COVID-19 patients as a second wave of infections sweeps the country. In an official statement released on Friday, the NINL Executives Association (NEA) said that the steel PSU has an oxygen plant with a capacity to produce 418 tonnes of Oxygen per day. 

“During this 2nd phase of COVID-19 pandemic, scarcity of Oxygen supply in medical centres and hospitals is very much observed. Recent deaths at Nashik in Maharastra and various hospitals of Delhi were in the news for shortage of oxygen. Medical treatments were hampered at many places due to disruption or short supply of oxygen. To save lives and to serve the nation, all steel plants are supplying oxygen cylinders or tankers as per their capacity or feasibility throughout the nation. This could also happen in NINL in no time if its oxygen plant is started,” said the statement.

NINL Oxygen plant was commissioned in April 2013

The oxygen plant at NINL was commissioned in April 2013. Production at NINL, a 1.1 MTPA integrated iron and steel plant at Kalinganagar in Odisha, has been on hold since March 26, 2020. Even though at a high-level meeting held in December 2020, it was decided that production at the plant will be restarted, the decision is yet to see the light of day. 

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NINL has a blast furnace of 1.1 Million Tonne (MT) annual hot metal production capacity along with a sinter plant, coke oven, steel melting shop (SMS), lime and dolo calcination plant, pig casting unit and captive mines. 

COVID-19: NEA urges govt to merge NINL with another steel PSU

While arguing that with a surge in COVID-19 infections in the country, the government’s disinvestment plan for NINL may not come to fruition, the NEA urged the government to merge the steel PSU with Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL), Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Ltd (RINL) or National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC). “As COVID cases are surging day by day throughout the country, the disinvestment process of NINL undertaken by DIPAM under the aegis of the Ministry of Finance may not be feasible in the near future. To save this glorious asset, NINL may be revived by merging with SAIL/RINL/NMDC and immediate resumption of production will bring harmony in the industrial region which will save the livelihood of 10,000 people who are directly or indirectly dependent on the plant,” said the executives association.

12 months’ salaries still pending: NEA

Raising the issue of pending salaries, the NEA said, “Even if selling of finished products lying at NINL premises is going on in full swing, but its employees have not been paid proportionately. Only Rs 14 crore has been disbursed towards salary payment, whereas approximately Rs 50 crore has been generated from the sale of various products. Still salary of more than 12 months is pending, including statutory dues. This has led to restlessness among employees and strikes on several occasions. A corpus of Rs 150-175 crore was to be released immediately for the payment of salaries and arrears as noted in the minutes of the meeting dated December 1, 2020.”

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