Mumbai: The Maharashtra government will not explore the option of importing 25,000 metric tonnes of oxygen but will instead focus on ramping up supply from various states and also by setting up generation plants.
“In response to its global tender issued on April 27, the government has received a response from Spain for the supply of oxygen at Rs 49 per cubic metre and after factoring in Rs 25-30 per cubic metre towards related costs, the oxygen will be available at around Rs 80 per cubic metre. This is not a workable and feasible proposition and the government has therefore decided against it. Therefore, the state government now plans to procure it from various states as per the allotment by the Centre,’’ said a senior bureaucrat involved in the process of oxygen procurement.
“Currently, the state government procures oxygen at a price range of Rs 15 and Rs 25 per cubic metre, depending on the location. It is procuring from Bhilai, Rourkela and Jamnagar after the Centre cancelled 50 MT from Bellary in Karnataka. The tankers are airlifted from Nagpur up to Rourkela and later, from Angul, these tankers are filled up and transported by the Oxygen Express. Similarly, tankers are airlifted up to Jamnagar and from there, the oxygen-filled ones transported back on the train,’’ he said. Despite logistical constraints, oxygen procurement from within the country is still economically viable, instead of importing it at higher prices, the bureaucrat said.
Further, he said the government would not issue any new tender for the import of oxygen. “At present, the state is able to meet its daily demand of 1,750-1,800MTs. This demand is bound to increase with the projected third wave of Covid. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has announced ‘Mission Oxygen’ to make the state self-sufficient in oxygen. The government is geared to meet a demand of 3,000MTs under the Mission Oxygen. “It is in the midst of installation of 132 oxygen plants based on pressure-swing absorption (PSA) technology, of which 38 plants have already started production of 53MTs,’’ said another bureaucrat. He noted that the state cabinet had, on Wednesday, cleared financial incentives for investors involved in the establishment of oxygen plants. The government will refund the State Goods & Services Tax and also offering exemptions in stamp duty, electricity duty and concession in electricity tariff of Rs 2 per unit, for the next five years.
Furthermore, the sugar mills in the state have initiated the generation of oxygen and are expected to produce 500MTs daily.