O2 cylinder industry in Gujarat hit by ban on oxygen supply to it

Business COVID-19

A ban on oxygen supply to the oxygen cylinder industry in Gujarat has put the manufacturers in hardship.

Rahul Lal, a manufacturer at Gandhidham, said: “In Gujarat, oxygen demand for medical purposes has risen to around 1,600 tonnes per day. However, the daily requirement of oxygen used in oxygen cylinder-manufacturing companies is just about 5 per cent of the total. Without manufacturing oxygen cylinders, a government will never be able to fulfill its medical requirements. Vague plans are always evidence of poor governance.”

Mukesh Kanani, another manufacturer at Gandhidham, informed The Observer: “Every month, at least 20,000 cylinders are manufactured in our plant. However, in the absence of oxygen, we are unable to meet the demand. There was a 10 per cent rise in the demand for the cylinders in the past two months. At present, we cannot fulfill orders as there is no oxygen.”

The ministry of home affairs issued an order saying oxygen will not be used for industrial purposes except for nine industries. Although oxygen cylinder manufacturers are included in the list, Gujarat authorities have not lifted the ban yet.

Rahil Andaani, a manufacturer at Gandhinagar, complained: “Despite the order by MHA, the state government is still not lifting the ban. We used to supply oxygen cylinders to other states like Uttarakhand, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi, but the ban has led (us) to close shutters.”

Hitesh Gorasia of Giriraj Industrial Gases, Rajkot, said: “Ninety per cent of our business is affected. There is a huge demand among the customers and they are ready to pay a higher price. We need just five tonnes of oxygen per month to manufacture cylinders.”

The Gujarat government’s inaction has added to problems such as shortages of ICU beds and medicines, and problems with inoculation. Every day, more than 100 patients die in the state due to a shortage of oxygen.

Doctors consider the ban a serious issue.

Sanjay J, a doctor at Rajkot, said: “Every day several patients are dying due to oxygen shortage. Instead of importing oxygen cylinders, the government should allow oxygen cylinder manufacturers to use liquid oxygen. The requirement for industries seems little. Hence, the issue must be addressed.”

High demand has led to a spike in price. As medical oxygen is critical in treating Covid-19 patients with serious illness, citizens are willing to pay double the price and sometimes more.

Harsh Tilva of Rajkot said: “There is a high demand for oxygen in industries. All our orders are on a halt as the industries have shut. The pandemic is not going to end anytime soon.”

The state government should get the industries to reopen, Tilva added.

Sagar Goresra, another customer, said: “We are ready to pay double the price for oxygen cylinders. We hope it will help the business resume.” Covid-19 has affected his business by 90 per cent, he added.

The only possible solution to the problem appears to be the state government lifting the ban and allowing the use of oxygen by oxygen cylinder manufacturers.


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