Sterlite Copper begins production of oxygen

CHENNAI, MAY 13 (PTI): | Publish Date: 5/13/2021 1:57:34 PM IST

Vedanta Ltd-owned Sterlite Copper has commenced production of medical oxygen at its facility in Tamil Nadu and dispatched the first batch of medical grade oxygen on Thursday, authorities said.

The Sterlite Copper Smelter Plant was given approval by the erstwhile AIADMK government on April 26 at an all-party meeting to produce medical oxygen at its facility in Tuticorin, about 600 km from here, for a period of four months.
The unit was sealed by the State government in May 2018,days after 13 agitators who were part of a protest against the company over environmental concerns were killed in police-firing during a violent anti-Sterlite stir in the southern district.
Recently, Industries Minister Thangam Thennarasu said the production of medical oxygen would commence this week. “One of our oxygen plants commenced production from May12. The first tanker carrying 4.8 tonnes of liquid oxygen is going to Tirunelveli-Tuticorin,” the company said in a statement today. Commenting on the development, Vedanta Resources Ltd Chairman Anil Agarwal, later in the day, extended his gratitude to the judiciary, State and Central administration for ensuring all support in providing life-saving oxygen across the nation by restoring the Sterlite-Copper oxygen plant.
“I am grateful to the Sterlite Copper team for their efforts. Their hard work has borne fruit as the first oxygen tanker rolled out to help save lives today,” he said in a statement and shared it on Twitter. “This is a shining example of the wonders of uniting for the common good,” he added.
With the company commencing production of medical oxygen, initially it would dispatch two oxygen tankers on a daily basis and later it would be scaled up by ramping up production.
Sterlite claimed the oxygen supplied is of 98.6 per cent purity and said the gas has received the necessary certifications for its use. “We are now working with experts to resolve the logistics involved in transporting the oxygen produced in our facility to the required parts of the country and coordinating with authorised nodal agencies in this regard,” it said.
Commenting on the production of medical oxygen, Sterlite Copper CEO Pankaj Kumar said, “My team  and I are honoured that our facility and efforts are being directly put into helping save lives.” “We promise to make every possible effort to ensure that there is continuous production of oxygen from our plant to mitigate this crisis,” he added.
The oxygen plant at the unit was re-activated at the earliest through the collaborative efforts of suppliers and partners. The support received from employees and community also played a critical role in helping ready the plant for immediate production, the company said.
Sterlite said it was grateful to the Supreme Court, Central and State governments and to the local administration for providing the necessary approvals in an expedited manner,the company said. At a meeting on April 26 chaired by the then ChiefMinister K Palaniswami and attended by main opposition party DMK, among others, it was resolved to allow Sterlite to produce oxygen from its plant in Tuticorin, days after Vedanta moved the Supreme Court in this connection.
As per the Supreme Court directive, power supply may be allowed for Vedanta’s Sterlite Industries in Tuticorin for four months to repair and operate oxygen producing and related equipment only, the meeting had resolved.
The period may be extended later but at no cost shall other activities like copper-manufacturing and running the co-generation plant shall be allowed and the power supply shall be cut after this period (four months) by TANGEDCO, itadded.

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