India bans oxygen to most industries to meet hospitals' demand

Published Mon, Apr 19, 2021 · 04:40 PM

[NEW DELHI] India has barred the supply of oxygen to many industries to meet rising demand from hospitals which are under pressure from a surge in coronavirus infections in the country.

Clinical demand for the gas has increased to 60 per cent of India's production and is expected to rise further, the Ministry of Health said in a statement late Sunday. The nation reported a record 273,810 new infections on Monday.

Maharashtra - the epicentre of the new wave of infections in India - has requested authorities to airlift oxygen cylinders into the state. Industries that create oxygen as a byproduct have been bottling the gas for hospitals, and Indian Railways is running special tankers across key corridors to transport it.

Meanwhile, shares of oxygen manufacturers are surging. Linde India Ltd. rose almost 10 per cent on Monday, the biggest increase in seven month, while the benchmark index dropped 2 per cent.

"We are supplying oxygen for medical purposes as our priority in response to the current crisis," a representative for JSW Steel Ltd said in an e-mailed response. "Currently, the supplies are ramped up to over 185 tonnes and making every effort to increase further from all our steel plants across the country."

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