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Friday, June 25, 2021

Uttar Pradesh government nod to phased diversion of oxygen to industry

In line with the request, 27 MT of oxygen was diverted to these industries Tuesday and the target is to ensure 10 per cent diversion of oxygen, which is about 80-100 MT per day, to these units.

By: Express News Service | Lucknow |
May 27, 2021 5:47:53 am
Health workers conduct Covid-19 tests at Varanasi’s Dashashwamedh Ghat on Wednesday. (Express Photo by Anand Singh)

With the steady fall in the state’s single-day caseload as well as active Covid-19 cases, the Uttar Pradesh government has decided to allow diversion of surplus oxygen to industries, which stopped operations earlier as the demand for medical use of the vital gas grew manifold.

Following the drop in cases, state industrial bodies had requested the government to consider distribution of oxygen for both industrial and medical use as many units, including those in the MSME sector, had to shut down when the state had to route the gas to meet the emergent medical need.

In line with the request, 27 MT of oxygen was diverted to these industries Tuesday and the target is to ensure 10 per cent diversion of oxygen, which is about 80-100 MT per day, to these units.

“The decision was taken as the demand for medical use of oxygen has decreased from up to 1,000 MT per day earlier to less than 650 MT per day. Over the last four days, there has been a further decline in requirement of medical colleges. Since we have been able to maintain three days of surplus oxygen at medical colleges, a decision was taken to resume diversion to industries as well,” Additional Chief Secretary, Home, Avaneesh Awasthi said.

He added that Air Separation Units have been told that they can sell their surplus oxygen to industries and the diversion has started with priority sectors. It is already being routed for major projects such as railways and Metro, among others, Awasthi said.

Speaking to The Indian Express, Pankaj Kumar, head of Indian Industries Association said, “We had requested that since the medical demand is coming down and even oxygen plants are coming up in hospitals, supply of about 20-30 per cent of production could be restored to industries. Earlier, 90 per cent of the oxygen produced used to go to industries and the remaining 10 per cent for medical use. However, considering the changed scenario because of Covid-19, we have requested that at least 20 per cent diversion be made for the Industry.”

He added that several industrial units, including large numbers of MSMEs, had to shut operations as oxygen was as much of a raw material as electricity for production. “MSME units engaged in major construction and infrastructure projects, including road building and power projects, also require oxygen. The government has allowed restoration of oxygen supply for these projects as well as for manufacturing medical equipment,” Kumar said, adding that the state has also cleared diversion of oxygen for production of agricultural equipment, machine manufacturing as well as steel plants.

He said the steel sector has been largely impacted as there are about 300 plants in UP related to steel industries such as furnaces, rolling mills etc. Industry bodies said most of these units shut down under the combined impact of the rising cost of raw materials, increase in transportation prices and reduction in supply of oxygen. However, phased diversion of oxygen can help restart these units.

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