A Few Facts About Industrial And Medical Oxygen, And Our Callousness

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Dr Bapuji M

I, Dr. M.Bapuji, received the following information through friends from Indian Inst of Petroleum, Dehradun on oxygen availability in india. The author is sri Hanuman  Lal Bengani, former CEO of Linde india.in,  his own words

” Having spent my life time of 45 years in oxygen industry and involved with setting up 50% of production capacities in india ( as business head of Linde) I can share a few things which will probably clear some of your thoughts. First a few facts :

1) Industrial and medical oxygen are the same product produced in the same plant, stored in the same tanks and filled in the same cylinders.

For medical oxygen the gas company just have to analyse each batch and certify. No other difference. In fact for industrial we need 99.5% pure oxygen where as for medical as per pharmocopea  all over world is 93+-3%. ( my addition: only, no harmful contaminants like carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides sulfer oxides should be there.)

2) There is absolutely no shortage of oxygen product in india.You will be surprised to know that less than 1% of oxygen production capacity is used for medical purposes. Even in corona times it may go up to three times or even 5%. But that’s it.

2) I would estimate total oxygen production capacity in India to be around 100,000 tons per day ( or may be more) and around  80% of oxygen production capacities are with steel companies where oxygen gas is produced and used in iron making as well as steel making. Yes, Reliance, Jamnagar has 22000 tons per day capacity for petcoke gassification.

3) Most of captive plants are in East india, some in the west ( Mumbai and Gujarat) and some in Karnataka. These plants typically produce 5-10% of the product as liquid which is stored in large tanks. This liquid is used by them as back up when plant is down and also to meet peak demands.

4) There are several stand alone liquid oxygen plants owned by gas companies like Linde and Innox where they produce liquid oxygen and sell to various customers through tankers and tanks.

5) Several refillers around the country buy liquid from gas companies and fill gas cylinders after vaporising liquid oxygen.

6) Oxygen is generally delivered to end user by three means. Directly through pipe line from plant to end user which is say 80% of product. 15% or so is delivered in liquid form through tanks and tankers and less than 5% through cylinders

So why are we facing crisis today ?

I think combination of followings

1) Shortage of distribution assets, ie., road tankers, storage tanks and cylinders. Mind you these are expensive. Each road tanker costs 45 lakhs on road and a cylinder costs around 10,000 in which you sell oxygen just worth Rs 300. These assets have been built by gas companies based on normal times. There is only that much one can do with these assets.

2) Logistics management. Most of Plants are located in select geographies. So distribution assets travel fair distance ( 200-1000 kms) to deliver to customer. Now even with good roads a tanker takes around 7-10 days to make a round trip and a cylinder also takes that much turn around.

3) Desire of gas companies to focus on what maximises their profits

Last but not least this wave came so quick it took our government administration with pants down. Had they thought of this impending danger and prepared, a major crisis could have been avoided. But that’s easy said than done knowing our democratic set up. Now Govt are taking steps. In hindsight I think Govt could have planned following things.

1) Strict advisory to gas companies to use all distribution assets for medical purpose only from day one. They could provide compensation to gas companies for this just like MSP for food grains.

2) Advise all captive plants owners not to use a drop of liquid oxygen from plant / tank for their process use until they are full.

3) Using rails to transport through green door track.

4) All hospitals could have installed PSA captive plants. PMO had announced Rs. 200 crores for all district hospitals and they could have around 500 plants. In usual public sector tendering process not even 15% of that has been used.

5) CEO of large hospitals are also equally responsible. When they charge such huge money from public, they should have better prepared themselves. What FOR are they getting fat salaries and bonuses?  Once this crisis is over I think some heads of CEO of large hospitals must roll.

The expertise and facilities are there in abundance in the country. Did we not know that oxygen is essential to save people? When we can lay gas lines from visakhapatnam to Hyderabad to transport  petrol, diesel and LPG which are flammable, what is the difficulty in supplying oxygen thru pipelines also?

What for do we have the industries and the army if not to take care of such urgent massive operations?

The army airlifts war tanks etc to Himalayan heights and siachen glacier too. This is no big deal for an army with huge infrastructure, logistic capability and an annual budget of Rs. 5 lakh crore plus.

Industrial oxygen cylinders are aplenty. divert industrial cylinders for medical purpose after due testing.

How much time is required to set up captive plants in big cities and distribute within city through  pipelines?

We would not have lost anything by postponing elections!  Have the chief ministers of all states come together irrespective of their party colors in the interest of people who support them? I am surprised that never all the CMs ever came together for the benefit of the citizens!

I find fault with the big industries who have not offered their help so far! They live on the people and do not care to come to their rescue in crisis!

What are the administrative cadres doing? Do they not know about what the CEO of Linde said?

We are not setting any good example  to the world with such capabilities in our hands.

Cremation  is going on in disorderly way. It is shocking to say the least. The volunteers are under threat of infection and physical exertion.

Atleast now prepare for the situation that is goung to be tougher and many folds larger.

Callousness towards doctors at this time of a pandemic

A few months ago paramedical staff, working on contract basis, in Telangana went on an agitation for wages that were not paid for months. Now comes this news of an agitation by doctors.

Gandhi Hospital Hyderabad is the referral Govt hospital where all corporate hospitals are sending critical patients in the last stage…Modi KCR etc speak a lot about doctors as Gods…in these times…They force doctors into a strike, neglect continuing in second year of  covid…see below a report by Times of india, Apr 24, 2021. Comments in parentheses are added.

Provide quality PPE, allow quarantine days to limit exposure: Govt doctors

HYDERABAD: Amid the surge in Covid-19 cases and strong evidence that the coronavirus is transmitted through air, doctors working in government hospitals in the city said that the least government could do is provide them with quality PPEkits, install filters in Covid wards, give equal days of quarantine to limit exposure of medical staff to Covid, and immediately recruit more medical employees.

Senior resident doctors, treating Covid patients at the Government General and Chest Hospital in Hyderabad, have threatened to boycott duties from April 24 Saturday if their demands for safe protective gear and quarantine leave, among others, are not considered. The doctors served the boycott notice to the hospital’s superintendent on Friday.

In their notice, the doctors have demanded adequate and safe protective gear at work, as the usage of PPE provided is leading to extreme exhaustion. They added that it is uncomfortable to work in harsh conditions, especially in the high summer temperatures.

(IT staff are picked by cab by many cos…but not doctors at a time of pandemic! )

The second demand is to allow for a quarantine period after work since some of them have already tested positive for coronavirus, leading to a decline in manpower. “Further burdening without quarantine will lead to more losses. Accommodation and transport have not been provided since the past eight months, forcing us to stay with families and increasing the risk to the family members. Parents of some senior resident doctors have been affected and some are critically ill. There is lack of adequate beds and oxygen supply outside to treat or admit family members,” said members of the Telangana Senior Residents Doctors Association.

The association demanded reservation of beds for family members and senior residents working at the hospital, and allotment of post-graduate doctors to assist in treatment of patients.

Doctors said that having quarantine days is going to help doctors in keeping Covid-19 at bay. “Earlier, if we had to work for 5 days, we used to get 5 days quarantine. But now, quarantine days are removed, which means we have to continuously work in Covid wards and risk getting Covid,” said Dr Naresh M, pulmonologist, Government General and Chest Hospital. (Ex pulmonologist of Govt hospital died of Covid in a corporate hospital a couple of days ago)

“When it is known that Covid is transmitted through air, why can’t we be given proper equipment especially when the entire hospital is slowly being converted into Covid-19 wards,” he questioned.

Doctors said they are exhausted and traumatised as they are working round the clock and added that more than anything, they need manpower.

“If there is enough manpower, we can work in shifts. Now, everyone — doctors, nurses, ward boys, aayas, patient care workers, are all tired. In an ICU with 40 patients, there is one patient care worker and a doctorIf the state continues to be oblivious to our problems, the day will come where most of the doctors will get infected and there won’t be many left to treat patients,” said a doctor at Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences and Research.

Another doctor at District Hospital, King Koti said that if it is not too much of a financial burden on the state, it should procure UV air purifiers to get the hospital premises cleaned.

(Gandhi Hospital is referral hospital where all corporate hospitals are sending critical patients in last stage..Top officials and Big guns have ACs and Air filters in their homes  at public expense…why not in a hospital?)


Hanuman  Lal Bengani, is a  former CEO of Linde india.in. Linde is a leading global industrial gases and engineering company with 2020 sales of $27 billion (€24 billion). Linde’s industrial gases are used in countless applications, from life-saving oxygen for hospitals to high-purity & specialty gases for electronics manufacturing, hydrogen for clean fuels and much more. Linde also delivers state-of-the-art gas processing solutions to support customer expansion, efficiency improvements and emissions reductions.

Dr M Bapuji : An activist who was a Retd. Senior Scientist, CSIR 1973-2002 (30 yrs), in Odisha, with vast experience across disciplines. M.Bapuji, born 1948, had a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, he guided six to Ph.D in varied cross disciplinary subjects, and was associated with various universities and an IIT. Has published 70 papers, holds 6 Patents, transferred 9 technologies to industry, helped stop imports of a group of chemicals. He discovered a 80km-long ridge reef off Odisha coast, reported about 140 sponges, corals etc for the first time from this reef. Established lab for microbes associated with sedentary fauna. Studied over 1200 microbes from this resource. Was General Secretary (3 yrs) and President (3 yrs) for All India CSIR Scientific Workers’ Association (SWA) affiliated to the World Federation of Scientific Workers

He was Director of a rural PG centre at G.Mamidada for five years; senior academic consultant for several universities for The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU), Bangalore. In recent past he was a Visiting Professor and Research Adviser, Acharya BM Reddy College of Pharmacy, Bangalore. Worked on fluorosis voluntarily with Fluorosis Mitigation Research and Resource Center (as Scientific Adviser, FMRRC, Hubli, Karnataka, founded by Dr. KS Sharma). Working on improvement of tribal schools, education, labs, faculty in W.Godavari dt(AP). Currently based at Hyderabad. Has contributed to countercurrents.org, mainly on fluorosis.

Courtesy Counter Currents

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