Hindustan Times (East UP)

Industrial units start returning oxygen cylinders to suppliers

- Pawan Dixitand S Raju letters@htlive.com

LUCKNOW/MEERUT: After request from the state government, industrial units across the state have started returning their oxygen cylinders to their suppliers. In Meerut, 250 industrial units have returned oxygen cylinders to their suppliers so that they may be supplied to hospitals for medical purpose.

Except those industrial units that are operationa­l and are manufactur­ing essential commoditie­s, all others have started returning their oxygen supply to their suppliers.

According to the Indian Industries Associatio­n (IIA), industries in Meerut, Saharanpur, Muzaffarna­gar, Shamli, Baghpat, Ghaziabad, Modi Nagar, Bareilly, Moradabad and in other western and eastern parts of the state have started returning their oxygen cylinders to their suppliers.

Empty oxygen cylinders are also being returned so that they may be refilled for reuse.

The state government has allowed the pharma industry and those manufactur­ing surgical instrument­s to continue using their oxygen supply.

Industries where oxygen is required in high quantity such as steel rolling plants, fabricatin­g units, those manufactur­ing cooling towers, boilers and other such units have been requested by the IIA to return their oxygen cylinders for this medical emergency arising out of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The state government has decided to divert all oxygen supply to hospitals to meet emergency oxygen requiremen­t there. From Thursday, industrial units have started returning oxygen cylinders to their suppliers,” said Pankaj Kumar, national president, IIA.

“Some industrial­ists have also obtained clearance from the state government to set up oxygen plants. One such plant will come up in Varanasi in the next fortnight,” Kumar added.

The government had assured that mandatory oxygen requiremen­t of industries would be fulfilled, he clarified. The state government has directly connected 285 hospitals in 30 UP districts with 90 micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) units which will supply oxygen to these medical facilities.

The government has also asked the industry lobby bodies to provide list of such small and big oxygen plants from across the state that are non-operationa­l and have been shut down but their infrastruc­ture is intact.

“The government has decided to revive all such oxygen plants, whether they are big or small. We are trying to get the details of all such plants from all over the state,” said Kumar.

Industrial lobby bodies are hopeful that the oxygen crisis will be mitigated to some extent by this measure.

In Meerut, deputy commission­er of industries V K Kaushal and other officials held a meeting with office-bearers of Indian Industries Associatio­n (IIA) and trader organizati­ons on Monday to seek local industries’ support to overcome the oxygen shortage during the second Covid wave.

Kaushal said IIA officials were asked to ensure that all industries where oxygen cylinders were used returned their empty cylinders to their respective suppliers and informed about their number. Kaushal claimed that so far industries had returned 250 cylinders and hoped that more would be deposited to suppliers in coming days. Kaushal claimed that there was no paucity of oxygen but more empty cylinders were needed for refill.

IIA’s secretary Ankit Singhal said that oxygen was mostly used in steel and fabricatio­n factories and all units had been requested to ensure returning empty cylinders. Meanwhile, units have also been asked to cut the back-up storage of oxygen to 3 to 4 days instead of earlier 15 days so that filled cylinders may be used for saving lives of people. Kaushal also shared that industrial units were being encouraged to install mini oxygen plants. The industry department had made a similar appeal to Daurala Sugar Mill. Kaushal added that the state government was committed to providing all possible assistance to those interested in setting up oxygen plants and claimed that people had shown their interest in such plants.

IIA’s state president Pankaj Gupta claimed that the organizati­on’s national president and industrial­ist R K Choudhary had started setting up an oxygen plant in Varanasi and many other IIA members in Hapur, Meerut and other places had also shown interest . Gupta claimed that those willing to spend money on the project wanted assistance from the state government in providing long term contracts with hospitals for supplying oxygen.

“We have shared our members’ concern with ministers of state government and hope they would not disappoint”, said Gupta .

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