With the threat of a Covid-19 ‘third wave’ looming on the horizon, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday set a target of producing 3,000 tonnes per day liquid medical oxygen.
Currently, the state’s LMO production is barely 1,300 tonnes daily and he called upon the oxygen manufacturers to hike their oxygen production and storage facilities on a priority basis.
Unveiling the ‘Oxygen Swavalamban Yojana’ before the representatives of major oxygen manufacturing companies in the state, Thackeray said that the industry has been given several incentives to enhance the capacity and appealed to them to put in place extra production and storage capabilities within the next 3-4 weeks to meet the LMO requirements of the possible ‘third wave’.
Some of the oxygen manufacturing companies officials present at the virtual meet included Linde India Ltd. Managing Director M. Banerjee, JSW Techno Project President G. Rathore, Inox Air Products Director Siddharth Jain, Tia Nippon Sansui India’s MD N. Vaidyanathan, Air Liquid India Holdings MD Bertrant Moni, Kolhapur Oxygen & Acetylene’s CEO R. Gadwe and All India Industrial Gas Manufacturers’ Association President Saket Tiku among others.
The CM said that during the second wave, the demand for LMO had increased tremendously, and despite a respite, in some districts the number of Covid-19 patients is still high.
“A third wave of Covid-19 is expected. A new variant of the coronavirus has been detected. But we do not know its lethality. Given the potential risks, it is important to make ourselves self-sufficient in oxygen while we still have the time to make preparations,” Thackeray urged.
While reiterating that the first priority is to save peoples’ lives, the CM admitted that owing to the lockdown, even the industries are suffering but the restrictions are being eased slowly.
He called upon the LMO industry to make storages at full capacity and also set up projects in the remote areas of the state to make oxygen easily available to the patients there, for which the state government would give full cooperation.
This would include transportation with adequate number of oxygen tankers, increasing the number of oxygen filling points, converting nitrogen carrying tankers into oxygen tankers, etc.