Reliance Industries Limited is diverting 100 tons of oxygen streams produced at its refineries to help aid Maharashtra battle the steep rise in daily coronavirus cases, according to reports. RIL, which operates one of the largest refining complexes in Maharashtra has started supplying oxygen from Gujarat’s Jamnagar at no cost, according to a Bloomberg report.
“Reliance is diverting some oxygen streams meant for its petroleum coke gasification units after making it suitable for medical use,” an official was quoted as saying. Medical-grade oxygen is used for the treatment of critical Covid-19 patients and in other cases of respiratory diseases.
Urban development minister, Eknath Shinde in a tweet on Tuesday, said the state will get 100 tons of oxygen from Reliance.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray in a letter to the Centre said the state is expecting its active caseload to reach 11.9 lakh by April 30, compared to the current active caseload of 5.64 lakh. He also said the state’s medical oxygen requirement is projected to reach 2,000 metric tonnes per day by April-end from the present consumption of 1,200 MT per day.
Citing logistical hurdles in the transportation of liquid medical oxygen from neighbouring states, Thackeray also sought permission under the National Disaster Management Act to airlift oxygen from steel plants in eastern and southern parts of the country.
Maharashtra has approached neighbouring states for medical oxygen supply amid the COVID-19 surge, but they have expressed their inability due to its high demand there, Health Minister Rajesh Tope said on Wednesday.
Thackeray on Tuesday said there is a shortage of medical oxygen and the Centre should help supply it for coronavirus patients in the state by using Air Force planes.
On Wednesday, Maharashtra reported 58,952 fresh coronavirus cases, taking the tally to 35,78,160, while 278 new fatalities pushed the toll to 58,804, the state health department said. In view of an alarming rise in cases, the state government has announced stricter measures for 15-days which came into force at 8 pm on Wednesday and will remain in operation till 7 am on May 1.
(With PTI inputs)
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