Diversion of surplus oxygen stock of steel plants to help ease demand from rising Covid caseload

An inter-ministerial Empowered Group 2 (EG2) has initiated several measures to ensure the supply of medical oxygen to various affected states during the Covid-19 pandemic, a Press Information Bureau (PIB) bulletin said on Thursday. Medical oxygen is a critical component in the treatment of Covid affected patients. 

The surplus stock available with steel plants is being used to cater to medical needs and the stock availability from steel plants has increased in the last few days, with 14,000 MTs coming from stocks of the CPSUs steel plants alone, and this has helped ramp up total Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO) stocks in the country.

Maharashtra has been able to lift surplus medical oxygen on a daily basis from steel plants like JSW in Dolvi (Maharashtra), SAIL in Bhilai (Chhattisgarh), and from JSW in Bellary (Karnataka). Similarly, Madhya Pradesh is able to supplement its oxygen supply from the steel plant in Bhilai (Chhattisgarh).

The challenge is to move oxygen from states with less necessity to states with increased necessity. Mapping of the surplus sources with states that have greater need for oxygen, such as Maharashtra, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Delhi, Chhattisgarh is being finalised in consultation with the manufacturers, states and other stakeholders, the release on the PIB website said. This has been undertaken through coordinated planning between the Government of India and state governments to map their requirements up to 30th April 2021 with the available sources and stocks of oxygen in the country.

A sub- group has been formed under Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) with Ministry of Railways and transport departments of states to facilitate the movement of transport tankers for LMO. Moving of oxygen tankers by rail is also being actively worked out.

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