Liquid oxygen ‘shortage’ worries industry

Liquid oxygen ‘shortage’ worries industry

Shivani Bhakoo

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, September 18

As the demand for oxygen cylinders has suddenly increased amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the industry dependent on liquid oxygen has showed concern over “unavailability” and “black marketeering” of oxygen cylinders. They have requested the authorities concerned to remove restrictions (if any) on the suppliers so that they can get ample supply of oxygen.

At the same time, the officials maintain that they have not put any restrictions on anyone rather the administration itself is in touch with suppliers at Baddi, Dehradun and Panipat to provide uninterrupted supply of oxygen cylinders so that patients do not suffer for want of oxygen and cylinders meant for the industry are no diverted to hospitals.

Talking to The Tribune, Sanjiv Sood from Bhawani Industries Limited, Mandi Gobindgarh, said because of a shortage of liquid oxygen, production in his factory was badly hit.

“We used to get three tonnes of oxygen daily, the supply of which at present has come down to just about one tonne. The rates of cylinders have increased beyond expectations. We are not sure whether this scarcity is real or created for the industry by the suppliers but we are suffering for sure,” he said.

Sood added that they were facing quality issues because of a shortage of oxygen cylinders.

The issue was also raised during a Zoom meeting of CII members and a few other industrialists with the Deputy Commissioner and the Commissioner Police last evening. Deputy Commissioner Varinder Sharma had clarified that the administration had not given any instructions to suppliers with regard to supplying oxygen to the industry.

Sharma said: “As the demand has increased, two local units have started manufacturing oxygen cylinders and around 1,400 cylinders are produced daily by both these plants. As far as the need of oxygen cylinders at hospitals is concerned, there is a requirement of about 1,200-1,300 medical oxygen cylinders daily on an average in various hospitals, which is being met.”

One of the industrialists, whose unit needs liquid oxygen, wishing not to be quoted, said the “black marketeering” and “scarcity” of oxygen cylinders might have been created by the suppliers to make a quick buck, and the administration should tighten noose around the neck of such unscrupulous suppliers.

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