The Union government has increased the allocation of oxygen for Tamil Nadu from 220 Metric Tonnes (MT) to 419 MT. A letter from National Health Mission Director Sanjay Roy issued on Saturday said the revised allocations were being made based on discussions. The communication notes that the changes will come into effect from May 11, “giving sufficient time to the states for the transition.”
Tamil Nadu’s in-house per day oxygen manufacturing capacity is 400 MT, all manufactured by private companies. However, the private units in the state were giving liquid oxygen to other states as well. Tamil Nadu was also receiving oxygen from other states.
The new decisions were made following a DPIIT meeting that Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh attended this week and a subsequent letter by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin.
The Union government has said that the allocation from INOX in Sriperumbudur will be increased from 50 MT/day to 140 MT/day. This became possible as Telangana which was getting 40 MT/day informed the government that they would not be needing their allocation now. This has now been reallocated to Tamil Nadu.
The allocation for Tamil Nadu from Linde St Gobain has been increased from 20 MT to 60 MT. The communication reads, “Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh have agreed to continue the existing supply of 35 MT for the next four days, as a transition arrangement to allow Andhra Pradesh to activate alternate supply sources allocated to the state.”
St Gobain company's liquid oxygen was getting shipped to Kerala as well as Andhra Pradesh. Tamil Nadu in turn gets 40 MT per day from the Kanjikode plant in Kerala. This will be discontinued next week when Sterlite plant begins production of 35 MT/day in the state.
The Air Water Bellary supply of 20 MT/day to Tamil Nadu has been proposed to be reduced and swapped to Telangana instead.
Other modifications and scaling up of supplies include JSW Salem from 10 MT/day to 15 MT/day; National Oxygen, Erode from 30 MT/day to 38 MT/day; Sicgilsol Gases Pvt. Ltd, Thanjavur from 20 MT/day to 40 MT/day; and INOX, Puducherry from 40 MT/day to 44 MT/day.
The current allocation plan will include the MSME Air Separation Units (ASU) existing capacity of 52 MT/day.
A few hours after he was sworn in, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin’s first official communication to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was a letter in which he had flagged the "severe crisis" over the availability of medical oxygen and sought the PM's intervention to ensure supplies and make available containers and trains to transport the life-saving gas to the state. MK Stalin on Saturday had requested the Centre to enhance the medical oxygen allocation to Tamil Nadu to 500 metric tonnes. The Chief Minister had a telephonic conversation with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
About a week ago, on April 25, Tamil Nadu’s then Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami had written to the Union government requesting that the diversion of 80 MT of medical oxygen from a Sriperumbudur plant to Andhra Pradesh (10 MT) and Telangana (70 MT) be immediately cancelled, in the wake of rising COVID-19 cases in the state.
(With inputs from PTI)