Oxygen in short supply, storage a worry too in Karnataka

Despite claims that oxygen supplies are near normal, Karnataka is facing problems in getting its full allocation, besides issues with storage.

Published: 27th May 2021 05:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 27th May 2021 01:36 PM   |  A+A-

Oxygen cylinder, Bengaluru

For representational purposes. (Photo | Shriram BN, EPS)

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Despite claims that oxygen supplies are near normal, Karnataka is facing problems in getting its full allocation, besides issues with storage.Although 1,200 metric tonnes of oxygen has been allocated to Karnataka, the state is short of 240.2 MT as the entire quantum is not reaching the destinations. From plants within Karnataka, 535.8 MT of the allocated 830 MT arrived, while only 120 MT out of 370 MT allocated came from outside Karnataka on May 25, as per data shared by Munish Moudgil, state nodal officer for oxygen distribution. 

The naval vessels INS Shardul and INS Jamnagar additionally brought 190 MT and 114 MT, respectively. Therefore, 959.8 MT out of the allocated 1,200 MT has reached, he said. “While 1,200 MT has been allotted, getting from outside isn’t going to be easy at all. From within Karnataka, we have 830 MT allocation now. It was 765 MT before, but consistently inside producers gave 820-850 MT daily.  We need to see in the coming days, which allocation from outside we actually get. Until then, it is safe to plan and work within 830 MT assured supplies daily,” Moudgil said. 

From Karnataka, JSW Industrial Gases, Universal Air Products, Bhuruka Gases Limited, Air Water Ballari, Inox Belloxy Ballari, Linde Belloxy, Linde Ballari 1 (Praxair), Linde Ballari 2, and Linde Hospet are supplying oxygen to the state. From outside the state, seven manufacturers are supplying oxygen from Maharashtra, Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. As per South Western Railway, Karnataka has received 1652.8 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) by rail. On Wednesday,  the 13th Oxygen Express reached Whitefield station from Gujarat carrying with it 112.16 tonnes of LMO in six cryogenic containers. 

The other big problem is hospitals and industries running out of storage for oxygen. There are no industries looking into manufacturing of cryogenic tankers and tanks which have now become crucial for oxygen storage. “The biggest issue is storage. There are insufficient tankers and tanks to store oxygen in the refilling units, hospitals and other places,” an official working closely with the government on oxygen told The New Indian Express.   So even if there is sufficient allocation, usage is hand-to-mouth because of lack of storage space.To address the issue of storage, the State Government had approached industry bodies in the state, but in vain. The industry bodies are now holding talks with their counterparts in other states to get assistance to help the government.  

“At present, there are three industrial locations in India where cryogenic tankers and tanks are manufactured - Visakhapatnam, Gujarat and Vashi. But they are unable to meet our demand. We have no space in the industrial units to store the manufactured liquid oxygen. Three more units to set up oxygen plants are coming up in Bengaluru. They are also working working on creating storage space,” Prakash C, president, Peenya Industries Association, said.The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) is helping with technology to two of the three units coming up in Peenya. Also, another unit is being set up with help from a private firm. Banks have also come forward to help in setting up the units by providing loans at 5% interest. 


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