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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

To boost production Punjab gives ‘thrust sector’ status to oxygen plants

The status, approved at a virtual Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, will apply to oxygen production units with minimum capacity of 700 cylinders per day equivalent to 5 MT, oxygen cylinder manufacturers/ fabricators, oxygen concentrator manufacturing units.

By: Express News Service | Chandigarh |
Updated: May 6, 2021 8:28:08 am
To increase oxygen supply in the biggest hospitals of the state, the production capacity of the oxygen plant at IGMC Hospital in Shimla is being increased by 20 MT, Thakur said. (File/Representational)

Amid the oxygen crisis triggered by the spiralling Covid cases, the Punjab government on Wednesday announced ‘thrust sector’ status for all oxygen producing units, while appointing a nodal officer to coordinate with customs department for quick clearance of foreign aid.

With this decision, the units (both old and new) will become eligible for 100 per cent exemption from change of land use (CLU)/external development charges (EDC), property tax, electricity duty, stamp duty and investment subsidy, by way of reimbursement of GST up to 125 per cent of Fixed Capital Investment made in the land and machinery.

While addressing the Cabinet meeting, the Chief Minister said with the way things were going currently, the situation was likely to worsen in the coming days, with nobody knowing how many more waves of Covid would hit the country and the state.

The status, approved at a virtual Cabinet meeting chaired by the Chief Minister, will apply to oxygen production units with minimum capacity of 700 cylinders per day equivalent to 5 MT, oxygen cylinder manufacturers/ fabricators, oxygen concentrator manufacturing units.

Oxygen refilling units will not be covered by the special status.

Currently, the daily Oxygen allocation to Punjab is 195 MT from outside the state: Inox plant at Baddi (60 MT), Air Liquide plant at Panipat (20 MT), Air Liquide plant at Roorkee (15 MT), Linde plant at Dehradun (10 MT) and Inox plant at Bokaro (90 MT). However, only 140 MT is being supplies from these plants on a daily basis, with shortage of tankers hampering lifting of oxygen especially from Bokaro. Two additional tankers from IOCL are unutilised due to technical/compatibility issues. Further, despite repeated requests, Linde & Air Liquide are not releasing their committed quota.

The Cabinet was informed that states governments have also created problems in supplies from plants in their jurisdiction. The plants have also had issues of power outages leading to supply disruptions.

High positivity rate of districts

Health Secretary Hussan Lal informed the Cabinet that 14 districts had positivity over 10 per cent and 6 over 11 per cent, with Mohali the highest at 25 per cent.

Further, 70 per cent L2 beds and over 80 per cent L3 beds in government and private hospitals occupied, the Health Secretary said, adding that with 10-30 patients going on ventilator every day, things were not good.

Besides initiating the process to add 2,000 beds in government medical colleges, district hospitals, and temporary hospitals in Bhatinda and Mohali, by the end of the month, direct recruitment had been started for regular staff.

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