Punjab reviving shut oxygen generation plants

The Punjab government is exploring the possibility of reviving some closed industrial oxygen plants to meet the demand of medical oxygen in the state. Government teams are visiting various industrial units where oxygen production can begin in the coming days.

The move comes shortly after factories in Mandi Gobindgarh town diverted industrial oxygen production for medical use for the Covid-19 second wave, which experts have predicted will reach its peak in the second week of May.

Punjab Industry Minister Sunder Sham Arora said government teams have been approaching these plants to restart oxygen production and is appealing to the industry to provide the oxygen cylinders available with them so that medical oxygen can be supplied in those.

One plant, Modern Steel Plant in Mandi Gobindgarh, was visited by Industry Department officials along with an Army team. The factory has a closed Air Separation Unit (ASU), which extracts oxygen from the atmosphere. However, it needs a new high pressure compressor, which will cost Rs 70 lakh to Rs 1 crore, and the government is ready to invest in it if the demand will go up. This unit has the capacity of generating 350 cylinders daily.

Similarly, in Ropar district, the Bhakra Beas Management Board (BBMB) will also start oxygen production soon as Ropar Deputy Commissioner Sonali Giri and Army officials visit the plant and are given first-hand information about it. Giri informed The Indian Express that they expect the plant to generate 50 cylinders daily.

Fatehgarh Sahib nodal officer for oxygen said that they are also finding some other closed plants in Mandi Gobindgarh which can be revived and restarted.

Currently Punjab is facing shortage of the medical oxygen cylinders too because of which the government is forced to use industrial oxygen cylinders.

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