Sterlite plant dispatches the first batch of medical oxygen to these two TN districts!

Weeks after re-opening the plant to produce oxygen amid the ravaging oxygen crisis, the Sterlite Copper plant in Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu has on Thursday dispatched the first batch of medical oxygen to Tuticorin and Tirunelveli. Vedanta, the company which owns the copper plant, has issued a press release concerning the dispatch which comes when the state has been facing a distressing dearth of oxygen in treating the Corona patients. 

The company has said the first consignment carried 4.8 tonnes of liquid oxygen to both districts. The statement said, "The oxygen supplied is of 98.6% purity and has received the necessary medical-grade certifications. We are now working with experts to resolve the logistics involved in transporting the oxygen produced in our facility to required parts of India, and are coordinating with the authorized nodal agencies in this regard." 

The company further added that the plant had started manufacturing oxygen on May 12 and will dispatch two such oxygen tankers every day as the production is gradually increased. The Sterlite Copper plant had re-opened its gates recently with the Supreme Court's order to manufacture medical oxygen in light of the growing need for oxygen across the country. The apex court had allowed the resumption of the plant on April 27.

The directive has come when Vedanta had moved to the Supreme Court seeking its order to re-open the plant for manufacturing oxygen. The company has said that it has two oxygen plants on its premises and asserted to the top court that it won't involve in the business of smelting copper, for which it was closed three years ago. In May 2018, the plant was shut down by the Tamil Nadu government under the grounds of violating the environmental and pollution norms. 

The violation and its threatening copper smelting process had triggered large-scale protests in Tuticorin in 2018. Hundreds of thousands of people had protested against the plant for posing a menace to their livelihoods. However, the government has carried out gunfire by citing that the protests were infiltered by the anti-social elements. About 13 people were killed in the police firing on May 22, 2018. 

The plant was then closed permanently and it has now been re-opened to produce medical oxygen. In its order, the Supreme Court has permitted the Sterlite plant to open for the purposes of producing medical oxygen only till only July 30, 2021. After the deadline, the court will be reaccessing the situation. It also has said that there must not be any political bickering over the production of oxygen by Vedanta at a time when the country is going through a crisis.