COVID-19 surge: Punjab to identify closed oxygen generating units to explore ways for production

The government will issue licence as soon as possible to industries that have the capacity to produce medical oxygen but do not have the licence, says Minister Sunder Sham Arora.

To ensure adequate supply of oxygen as the COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the Punjab government has directed officials of the Industries and Commerce Department to identify closed oxygen generating units and explore possibilities of production.

Industries and Commerce Minister Sunder Sham Arora said the government was working to ensure uninterrupted medical supplies, especially medical oxygen and vaccines.

“I have already instructed the authorities to identify the industries that have the capacity to produce medical oxygen but don’t have the licence to produce. The government will act swiftly and issue the licence as soon as possible. The supply of oxygen to industries was stopped and now 98% oxygen is going towards the medical requirements,” he said.

He said there was a need to make available adequate oxygen because of a high number of oxygen-dependent COVID-19 cases and also urged the Centre to ensure adequate supply from other States.

Mr. Arora said the Industries Department would extend all help to identify land and get consent to establish a plant if anyone wanted to set one up. He urged the State-run oil firms to establish Pressure Swing Adsorption medical oxygen generation plants and procure cryogenic containers for transporting liquid medical oxygen to meet the acute shortage in the country.

Punjab had 15 Air Separation Units with a generation capacity of 60 to 65 tonnes a day and the average requirement before the pandemic was 50-60 tonnes a day, which had shot up to 250 tonnes a day after the rapid spike in COVID-19 cases and panic buying, he added.

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