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Power disruption at Ballari oxygen plants cuts Karnataka O2 production by 20%

In a letter to all Deputy Commissioners and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials the Chief Secretary, P Ravi Kumar, said that oxygen production has reduced by 220 tons.

By: Express Web Desk | Bengaluru |
Updated: May 25, 2021 6:36:24 am
Apart from establishing the oxygen supply plant, the Palwal administration and health department are also working towards increasing the number of beds available at health centres for Covid patients. (File)

Karnataka will see a 20 per cent drop in oxygen supply for the next two days after production was hit at two manufacturing plants in Ballari district due to power failure, government officials said.

In a letter to all Deputy Commissioners and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) officials the Chief Secretary, P Ravi Kumar, said that oxygen production has reduced by 220 tons.

“Expect and prepare for a 20% reduction in supplies to all refillers on Monday and Tuesday, and the districts must plan oxygen stocks and buffer stock usage now and use buffer stock if the situation requires.” Ravi Kumar added.

However, Munish Moudgil, who is in charge of oxygen management in Karnataka, clarified that there was no need to “panic”.

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“We have the issue due to tripping of plants. But we have done our best to minimise the impact and everyone is in complete coordination for handling the situation,” he said.

“Karnataka’s daily supply is about 850MT. We have back up supplies to deal with production tripping in two plants. Every district and BBMP have built a buffer stock of oxygen to handle any emergencies immediately. Oxygen Audit of use of oxygen is happening everyday to ensure most optimal utilisation of oxygen as per guidelines by all hospitals,” Moudgil explained.

Chief Secretary in his circular said that oxygen supply is likely to stabilise by Wednesday morning.

Karnataka Mines and Geology Minister Murugesh Nirani recently denied allegations that the state was facing a shortage of medical oxygen supply even as Covid cases peaked earlier this month. He said there was only a shortage of oxygen cylinders.

“There is no oxygen shortage in the state. While we have oxygen in plenty, the shortage we face is for containers to store and transport it. To bridge this gap, the work to manufacture 500 containers daily is underway in Kalaburagi. Soon, we shall overcome the shortage of oxygen containers in the state,” he claimed. He added that an oxygen cylinder manufacturing plant is being set up by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Nirani also spoke of the Karnataka government’s plan to set up oxygen generator units in all taluks in the state. “Setting up oxygen generator units in taluks will help us in the future to overcome the crisis that the state is witnessing today,” he said.

Meanwhile, Industries Minister Jagadish Shettar told that the state was yet to get the Centre’s nod to use all medical oxygen produced in plants in Karnataka for the state itself. “We are hopeful of the Centre allowing us to do so within the next few days. This will further enhance the amount of medical oxygen that can be distributed to the hospitals,” he said on Monday.

He added, “We are able to manage with the 1015 MT allocation at present. There are some technical problems at present at the Jindal plant (in Ballari) for which action has been taken to ensure swift resolution.”

Earlier last week, Karnataka had sought to stop the supply of 145 MT and 63 MT medical oxygen to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh respectively, apart from the 40 MT assigned to Maharashtra.

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