Maha: VSI urges sugar mills to produce oxygen to address shortage

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Pune, Apr 23 (PTI) In light of the current shortage of medical oxygen for COVID-19 patients in Maharashtra, Pune's Vasantdada Sugar Institute (VSI) on Friday appealed to sugar mills to focus on production of the life-saving gas at their plants.

The VSI's director general Shivajirao Deshmukh has written to directors of sugar mills in the state.

'Considering the current situation of medical oxygen supply to hospitals, NCP chief Sharad Pawar had pointed out that sugar mills where the crushing season is still on and have power generation plants on their premises should focus on oxygen production,' the letter reads.

Steam and energy are needed to set up an oxygen production plant and these two things are available when sugar mills are operational, it stated.

In the present scenario, where medical oxygen is needed for COVID-19 patients, it is imperative that sugar mills come forward and start oxygen generation on their premises by using available resources, manpower and invest capital if needed, it said.

A senior official from the state cooperative department, however, said setting up an oxygen production plant will need investment and the actual production will take four to five months.

'Even if sugar mills think of setting up such plants, they will need at least four to five months for capacity building,' he said. PTI SPK ARU ARU