Major Indian steel producers JSW Limited and Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) will cut back steel production at its mills and ensure maximum production of oxygen for medical purposes, company officials said on Wednesday, April 28.
JSW Ltd said that it will increase oxygen production at its plants to 1,000 mt per day from levels of 900 mt per day at present.
“Saving lives is more important than producing steel. Steel production can suffer as long as the country is in need of any resources available with the company,” Sajjan Jindal, chairman and managing director of JSW Group, said.
Large Covid centres are being built on an emergency basis around its plants where JSW is laying a dedicated pipeline to supply gaseous oxygen directly to patients. This will avoid the dependency on liquid oxygen. “If the oxygen in such huge quantities cannot be taken to patients, we must bring the patients close to the oxygen source,” Mr. Jindal said.
“We can compromise steel production for a while to supply oxygen to the government to save precious lives. Our priority is people first,” JSPL managing director VR Sharma said. He added that JSPL’s steel mill at Angul in Odisha has ready stocks of 500 mt of oxygen waiting for transportation.
Reports unconfirmed by the company indicated that Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) is getting ready to close down its Bhilai steel mill to enable its captive oxygen plant to maximize production and supplies to state governments and hospitals.