Coal India arms considering installing oxygen plants to tide over shortage crisis

By: |
April 27, 2021 4:59 PM

CIL has ascertained that the contract workers do not take a pay hit and full wages are ensured to them, even in the event of lockdown, with extension of free medical facilities at CIL's area hospitals.

CIL accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output.

State-owned CIL on Tuesday said that three of its subsidiaries are considering installing oxygen generation plants to tide over the shortage of the life saving gas.

The statement comes at a time when the country is facing oxygen shortage amid the resurgence of COVID-19.

The PSU further said that it is on high alert to guard its employees by ramping up the medical infrastructure and availability of oxygen cylinders across its subsidiaries to combat the rise of COVID-19.

In what could be the highest mobilisation of COVID beds by a corporate entity in the country, the maharatna coal miner has set up around 2,000 beds which include ICU, isolation and COVID care beds with oxygen support (up to April 25), Coal India Ltd (CIL) said in a statement.

While oxygen supported beds are over 750, the ICU beds number nearly 70 (up to April 25).

This apart, CIL’s coal companies have also tied up with local hospitals and state governments funding and facilitating beds to step up Covid relief measures. Availability of beds in local peripheral areas is also being increased.

Emergency utility equipment has been scaled up with around 2,000 oxygen cylinders ready for use and 70 ventilators in operational state (up to April 25), the statement said.

Plans are afoot to further increase the medical facilities to meet any exigencies. The situation is being closely monitored at the highest levels of CIL and coal companies, working out plans for augmenting emergency medicines, beds and accessories to combat the Covid.

“Ours being a manpower intensive industry we are concerned about our workforce and doing all we could to prevent the spread of the pandemic at our mining areas. All our subsidiaries are battling on multiple fronts by scaling up protective and relief measures,” a senior official of CIL said.

Coal companies are stocked with adequate personal protective equipment (PPE). Large numbers of masks and sanitisers have been distributed so far in one of the largest logistics mobilisation in tackling COVID-19.

Concurrently, the company is also taking measures to ensure seamless production and offtake. With the onset of summer, the demand for electricity is rising and the company has to maintain steady supplies.

CIL has ascertained that the contract workers do not take a pay hit and full wages are ensured to them, even in the event of lockdown, with extension of free medical facilities at CIL’s area hospitals.

CIL has also declared ex-gratia payment of Rs 15 lakh to the next of kin of employees including contractual workers, in case of death due to Covid.

“The second surge was an unforeseen situation, but we are bracing up with building medical infrastructure and logistics,” said the executive.

Coal companies of CIL, since 1 April, have taken up a vaccination drive on war footing for people of above 45 years age.

So far the average vaccination is around 1,700 persons per day. Since this is an ongoing process, the numbers are expected to go up considerably higher going forward.

Vaccination is for company’s employees, their dependents and contractual staff.

CIL accounts for over 80 per cent of domestic coal output.

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