Amid Covid surge, Uttarakhand looks to sugar mills to increase oxygen production

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14 May 2021, New Delhi, IN: Uttarakhand minister Swami Yatishwaranand has asked officials to rope in sugar mills to start producing oxygen to augment the supply of the life-saving gas in view of the rising COVID-19 cases in the state.

Two sugar mills in Hardiwar have already agreed to the proposal, the minister for sugarcane development and sugar industry said.

In a letter to ministry secretary Chandresh Kumar, Yatishwaranand cited the example of Osmanabad in Maharashtra where an oxygen plant is being run at a sugar factory and asked him to start work in that direction in Uttarakhand too.

The minister said he had spoken to the management of the Dharashiv Sugar Mill in Osmanabad and also collected information about a dozen sugar mills that are running oxygen plants in neighbouring Uttar Pradesh.

Quoting Uttar Pradesh Sugarcane Minister Suresh Rana, Yatishwaranand said oxygen plants can be set up easily in sugar mills producing ethanol.

Two sugar mills in Haridwar district, Laksar Sugar Mill and Uttam Sugar Mill, that produce ethanol have already agreed to producing medical grade oxygen, Yatishwaranand said, adding that the additional production of oxygen will help a lot in the current COVID-19 situation.

Uttarakhand is grappling with the second wave of COVID-19 at every level, Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat had said on Wednesday while flagging off trucks carrying 80 metric tonnes of oxygen sent by the Centre to different places in Kumaon and Garhwal divisions of the state.

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