Andhra's plan to meet oxygen demand: State reopens defunct plants

As of now, the state is able to produce 37.5 tonnes of gaseous oxygen per day in these revived plants.
A defunct oxygen plant being fixed in Nellore by Navy officers from Vizag
A defunct oxygen plant being fixed in Nellore by Navy officers from Vizag
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In a move to address the need for medical oxygen in the state, the Andhra Pradesh government has revived as many as 10 oxygen plants. On a daily basis these plants are producing over 37 tonnes of oxygen for the public and private hospitals in the state. Earlier this month, following the deaths of 11 patients at Tirupati Ruia Government Hospital due to interruption in the oxygen supply, the state government decided to revive the oxygen plants that were closed fully or partially owing to financial and other reasons. According to officials, currently, over 300 tonnes of gaseous and liquid oxygen are being produced and procured to accommodate the medical needs in the state. 

According to authorities, so far nine private industrial units which stopped production of oxygen have been opened to revive their oxygen plants. VRVR Naik, Joint Director, Department of Industries, who is coordinating with the Industries that are being reviving their oxygen plants, said, "Nine plants have already started producing oxygen for medical purposes; eight of them are currently able to facilitate 37.75 tonnes of oxygen, and this will be increased to 50.75 tonnes once AP Paper Mills starts delivering gaseous oxygen through pipelines in Rajahmundry."

According to the officer, soon the oxygen production in the revived plants will cross 60 tonnes per day. He added, "As some plants are in a bad condition since they were shut for a long time, it is taking some time. Once they start producing, the quantity of oxygen within the state will increase."

According to officials, Sovereign Oxygen in Guntur is producing 2.5 tonnes of oxygen per day; Life Oxygen in Anantapur is producing 4 tonnes per day; Life Line Industries is producing 5 tonnes per day; Shakthi Industrial Gases in Krishna district is producing 4.25 tonnes per day; Vedic Ispat in Anantapur is producing 7 tonnes per day; and JOCIL Limited in Guntur is producing 2.5 tonnes per day. Coramandal Gases in Visakhapatnam is the highest contributor of oxygen at 8.5 tonnes per day and Krishna Teja Industries in Nellore is producing 4 tonnes a day. The companies will be selling the oxygen they produce to different hospitals and agencies, including state-run hospitals, the Joint Director said. "Even the government will be buying the oxygen from these plants as they're being operated and produced on their own."

The official said that 11.7 tonnes more oxygen will be produced in three more plants in Srikakulam, Krishna and Guntur districts soon. The state has also planned to convert nitrogen into oxygen at four plants; one plant at Nagarjuna Agri Chem in Srikakulam has already started the process. The officer said, "A chemical called zeolite is required for that to happen, it is coming from Mumbai, and soon the plant will be in a position to give 1 tonne oxygen per day."

Arrangements are being made to ensure Arjas Gases in Anantapur produces 80 tonnes of oxygen in a day; the Chittoor district Collector made a visit to Kalahasti Castings limited where 30 tonnes of oxygen can be produced. 

Recently, the Union government allotted three additional ISO Containers and 110 MT of liquid oxygen from Reliance Industries Jamnagar to the state. Andhra Pradesh COVID-19 Task Force Committee Chairman Krishna Babu, who is monitoring the supply and storage of Oxygen, said that two cryogenic containers each carrying 20 MT of liquid oxygen were sent from Durgapur Steel plant and the train will reach Krishnapatnam port. Two trains with 60 metric tonnes (MT) capacity will be run from Durgapur to deliver the assured supply of 60 MT per day to Rayalaseema districts and Nellore. He also said that a train carrying six ISO containers along with 110 MT of liquid oxygen from Reliance Industries Jamnagar will reach Guntur soon. 

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