Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper plant in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district will begin producing oxygen from May 11, Tuesday. Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu said that the Sterlite Copper plant would produce 35 metric tonnes (MT) of oxygen from May 11 and double its production later. "We have asked them to increase production to 70 metric tonnes. They (the company) told us that they will be able to give information on May 12," he told reporters. On April 26, an all-party meeting convened by the previous AIADMK government resolved to allow the plant to produce oxygen for a four-month period, paving way for the partial reopening of the copper smelter plant closed in 2018 over pollution concerns.
The Minister, according to reports, also urged industries such as JSW, Hyundai Motor India, NLC India Ltd., Chennai Petroleum Corporation Ltd (CPCL), Tamil Nadu Newsprint and Papers Ltd (TNPL) to expedite the production of medical oxygen, in view of increasing demand, as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives. According to him, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and NLC India too are planning to set up oxygen plants in the state. While DRDO was planning on setting up four oxygen plants, MLC India was planning to establish three.
A report in the Times of India states that NLC India, following a direction from Union coal Minister Pralhad Joshi, is planning on setting up nine medical oxygen production plants in different locations in the country, including its project sites at Neyveli and Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu.
Chairing his first Cabinet meeting, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on May 9 tasked the ministers of making sure that oxygen is used in a proper manner and its wastage was avoided in hospitals across the state.
On May 9, the Union government announced a revised allocation of 419 MT oxygen to the state. The state’s in-house oxygen manufacturing capacity is 400 MT per day. Manufactured by private companies, this liquid oxygen was being supplied to other states as well. Tamil Nadu was also receiving oxygen from other states.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu's coronavirus spike continued unabated with 28,897 fresh cases being recorded in a single day on May 9, Sunday. The state capital accounted for 7,130 new infections. Besides Chennai, Chengalpet added 2,279 cases, while Coimbatore added 2,509 cases, followed by Thiruvallur at 1,768, Madurai at 1,068 and Kancheepuram at 1,089. The remaining 31 districts clocked new infections in triple digits. The state presently has 1.44 lakh active infections.
(With inputs from PTI)