Karnataka industries minister, Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday said that the union government had in-principle agreed to the state’s proposal to utilise all oxygen produced within the state.
Shettar, who has been assigned additionally to handle oxygen supply to all hospitals in the state, held a series of meeting with officials concerned here and told reporters that Karnataka had sought to stop the supply of oxygen 145 MT to Telangana, 63MT to Andhra Pradesh and 40 MT supply to Maharashtra and union government has agreed in principle for this.
“The union government is all likely to issue a circular enabling the state government to utilise all of the oxygen produced within the state,” he said.
Shettar said that the union ministers – Piyush Goel, Sadananda Gowda and Prahalad Joshi – have played a vital role at various stages to convince the union government to allow Karnataka to use the life saving gas produced within the state.
“But for the help of these union ministers, it would not have been possible,” he said.Answering a question, Shettar said that the state was facing shortage of around 67 MTs of oxygen supply even to this date but as of now the state still stands the danger of running out of oxygen supply in hospitals. “We need to bridge this gap of 67 MTs as soon as possible and therefore, the state government has sought the union government to exempt the state from allowing oxygen produced in its state to be sold to another state at the time of such a crisis,” he explained. According to him, after the Supreme Court order of 1,200 allocation to Karnataka, the union government has increased Karnataka’s share to 1,015 MT from 965 MT. “Out of 1015 MT, 765 MT is the allocation from within the state from our six main producers, 60 is from MSME PSA plants that have been authorised by the union government and 190 is to be brought from other states (160 from Orissa and 30 from Visakhapatnam),” he explained.
He added that in the last one week, the state’s supplies on an average remained at 875 MT on a day-to-day basis, which translates into a shortage of around 67 MTs of Oxygen.
The minister said that Karnataka has started district-wise Oxygen allocation based on the active cases (actual requirement) besides monitoring the daily supply of LMO at oxygen refilling stations and their supply to the allotted hospitals.
“The aviation major Boeing is giving 1,000 LPM plant to the ESI hospital Kalaburagi which will become operational on May 22 and by next week 500 LPM plant will be set up in Virajpet, Kodagu district too while two 500LPM PM oxygen generator plants have become operational in Kolar Gold Field (KGF) and Yadgir,” he explained.
Apart from these, Karnataka’s efforts are also on to revive any defunct Oxygen gas plants and to leverage Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) oxygen gas generation capacity at their Yelahanka, Raichur and Bidar plants. “Besides, there are talks going on to procure a compressor for bottling of oxygen in KPCL’s Raichur plant as well,” he added.
Replying to a question, the minister claimed that efforts were on in identification and conversion of Nitrogen PSA plants to Oxygen.
“One such effort in Raichur with 500 cubic meter per hour capacity is in the advance stages of revival and will start operation after five weeks,” he said and also added oxygen gas plant within the Visvesvaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISL), a unit of Steel Authority of India Limited in Bhadravati in Shivamogga district, presently has the capacity to fill 150-190 oxygen cylinder and the state government is in process of increasing the capacity of the plant by 200 cylinders soon.