The government has temporarily permitted the resumption of oxygen supply for industrial use by several sectors, including firms producing oxygen cylinders, copper, aluminium, steel as well as exporters and food processing units.
Infrastructure projects and micro, small and medium enterprises have also been allowed to use liquid oxygen. In April, as the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic surged, the Centre had invoked the Disaster Management Act to limit oxygen supplies for industrial use, and subsequently strengthened the curbs by directing all oxygen stocks to be diverted for medical purposes.
On Monday, the Ministry of Home Affairs informed the Commerce and Industry Ministry that it may allow usage of liquid oxygen to specified industries ‘on temporary basis subject to ensuring adequate supply of liquid medical oxygen to hospitals and other medical purposes as per demands of States and Union Territories’.
The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) had urged the Home Ministry to consider resuming oxygen supplies for micro, small and medium enterprises, infrastructure projects, exporters, food processing units, as well as continuous process industries such as furnaces, refineries, steel, aluminium, copper processing plants, etc. that require continuous power supply.
Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla has approved the proposal, and asked the DPIIT to also ensure that adequate supply is available for the defence forces and industries such as ampules and vials, pharmaceuticals, oxygen cylinders, PSA oxygen plants and neutral glass tubing.