Vijayawada: Andhra Pradesh industries minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy on 22 April said there is no shortage of oxygen in the state to treat coronavirus patients. He further said that AP was the priority and only after meeting the state's oxygen requirements would it be supplied to other states.

According to the minister, 40 companies produce 510 MT of medical oxygen in AP. Oxygen is being supplied from three production facilities in the state - RINL, Allen Berry, and Liquinox Gases. As much as 50 per cent of the oxygen produced at RINL is being used for AP's needs while the balance is being supplied to Maharashtra. All the oxygen being produced by Allen Berry (40 tonnes) and Liquinox Gases are being used to cater to the state's needs.

The minister instructed officials to use oxygen being produced at the MedTech zone as well and said Rayalaseema has received the 68 MT of oxygen from Ballari. He said the government has identified oxygen shortage in the districts of Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam, Kurnool, and parts of Nellore.

Within two to three months, oxygen will be produced in large quantities in 20-30 plants in the state, Mr. Reddy said. He gave instructions for the production of at least 300 MT of oxygen daily and instructed oxygen-producing companies to work 24x7.

The minister ordered the industries department to submit a report by Thursday evening listing which district needs how much oxygen and which company is producing what quantity of the gas, including details such as how much oxygen would be required in the future.

Meanwhile, MedTech zone CEO Jitendra Sharma said from 1 May the company will produce 2,400 cubic metres of oxygen and RINL official C.G.M. Biswal said the company has produced up to 766 tonnes of oxygen until now, besides producing 100 tonnes on a daily basis.

Also, Liquinox Gas official Rajesh Babu told the minister that the company is supplying oxygen to 12 hospitals in Srikakulam district in north Andhra. "Inability to transport oxygen at the speed of its production is a major challenge," he said, adding the company will raise oxygen production from 40 MT to 50 MT.

Mr. Reddy said the state issued licenses to 44 units in 2020 to produce oxygen. The number has been raised by another 10 now, he said. The minister said the state government has sent proposals to the Centre to make arrangements in eight more hospitals and added that the state police is ensuring the smooth transportation of oxygen.

Meanwhile, industries director Subrahmanyam Javvadi explained the details of oxygen-producing industries in the state to Mr. Reddy. He gave a presentation on the current COVID-19 situation, oxygen needs, and the patterns of oxygen usage during the first wave of the pandemic.

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