Shivamogga district administration has taken steps to re-start an oxygen plant on the Visvesaraya Iron and Steel Plant (VISP) campus in Bhadravati to fulfil the medical oxygen requirement of the government hospitals in the district. The plant, which has remained defunct for several months, is expected to start production soon.
Shivamogga Deputy Commissioner K.B. Shivakumar told The Hindu over the phone that the supply might start by Saturday. “The plant has remained inactive for several months. We have to check how the machines work. Once the plant is ready, we will be getting vapour oxygen and the quantity would be sufficient for the requirement in our taluk hospitals”, he said.
Considering the patients on oxygenated beds in government hospitals, the district administration required 19 kilo litres of medical oxygen every 36 hours. “Now, we are getting medical oxygen from the Jindal plant in Ballari.”
The VISP at Bhadravati is all set to supply 150 bulk cylinders of gaseous oxygen. Surjit Mishra, in-charge Executive Director of the plant, said that the plant had a bottling capacity of 150 cylinders a day and that much would be supplied. “We are making preparations for oxygen production. Some equipment and raw materials are required. We will arrange them within a couple of days and start production”, he said.
The officers of VISP have been in constant touch with the district administration. “We will supply the cylinders, without charging anything, except the electricity cost”, Mr. Mishra said.
The VISP set up by the Wadiyars of Mysuru in 1923 was once known for the large scale production of hot iron. Once, the production of the iron had reached 2.2 lakh tonnes per annum. Now, the plant has remained defunct, expect the secondary production works. The steelmaking shop (SMS) and blast furnace stopped functioning in January 2017.
When the production was in full swing, two oxygen plants were operating on the campus as industrial oxygen was required then. One plant stopped its operations five-six years ago and now it is not in working condition. The other, which was operated by another private company on the basis of an understanding with the VISP, also stopped functioning a few months ago. “If both the plants were operational, as much as 80 metric tonnes of oxygen could be produced in Bhadravati alone in a day. The production was more than sufficient for Shivamoggan and a couple of other districts. But, there have been no efforts to operationalise them all these days”, pointed out J. Jagadish, president of the labour union of the VISP.
Now, the VISP is making preparations for oxygen production in the plant, which was stopped a few months ago.
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