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India: Mills stare at shutdown on oxygen cut-off


As the demand for liquid medical oxygen (LMO) mounts in the battle against the devastating second wave of Covid-19, court orders, circulars from district collectors and verbal urgings from state officials are seeking augmentation of supply of this life-saving gas from the iron and steel industry. The ways and means include diversion of industrial oxygen to hospitals as LMO, mill closures and production curbs on secondary sector mills and hand-over of empty cylinders for O2 refills.
While the large integrated plants have their own oxygen-making facilities, the smaller mills generally buy from gas manufacturers for their metal cutting and casting purposes. In a business-as-usual scenario, gas manufacturers supply 60% towards industrial use and the balance 40% to hospitals. However, staring at an out-of-control pandemic, they are


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