The Supreme Court, in the last week of April, allowed Vedanta to operate its closed plant to produce oxygen and asked the state government to form a panel, including the district collector and the Tuticorin superintendent of police, to monitor the activities.
Vedanta-owned Sterlite Copper said on Thursday it will dispatch two oxygen tankers daily to begin with from its reopened Tuticorin plant and gradually scale up the dispatches as it expands production. The company has dispatched its first batch of medical grade oxygen, with the first tanker carrying 4.8 tonne of liquid oxygen headed to Tirunelveli/ Tuticorin areas, it said.
Sterlite started production of liquid oxygen at one of its plants on May 12. The Supreme Court, in the last week of April, allowed Vedanta to operate its closed plant to produce oxygen and asked the state government to form a panel, including the district collector and the Tuticorin superintendent of police, to monitor the activities.
Prior to the SC order, an all-party meeting convened by the then Tamil Nadu chief minister had unanimously decided to allow Sterlite Copper plant reopen to produce oxygen, with riders, due to the oxygen shortage triggered by the Covid-19 second wave. Sterlite Copper’s oxygen plants have the capacity to produce 1,000 tonne of oxygen a day.
The company said the oxygen is of 98.6% purity and has received the necessary medical grade certifications. The company is now working with experts to resolve the logistics to transport the oxygen to required parts of the country and is coordinating with nodal agencies in this regard.
Pankaj Kumar, CEO, Sterlite Copper, said, “My team members 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.”
The Tuticorin unit was shut in 2018 following protests by local residents over environmental pollution and the death of 13 protesters in police firing.