MSMEs in Pune are hoping the the State government takes steps to increase oxygen supply as manufacturing is hit due to shortage. As oxygen is increasingly being diverted to meet the critical needs for Covid-affected, industrial units are being starved of oxygen.

“During 2020 lockdowns the Pimpri-Chinchwad Small Industries Association (PCSIA) had demanded that the government must set up a 100-tonne oxygen plant. But the demand was not fulfilled. Covid-19 patients need oxygen in a huge quantity and we are not saying that industries should get oxygen by reducing supply to hospitals. But at the same it must be understood that industries are facing major problems to function” said Sandeep Belsare President of PCSIA.

Pune district including the Pimpri-Chinchwad auto belt has about 1.3 lakh registered MSMEs and over 700 large scale units. Many industrial units in the region are operating in the auto sector. Out of 12,000 industrial units in Pimpri-Chinchwad, almost 80 per cent of industries need industrial oxygen to continue their operations.

The State public health department had last month directed oxygen manufacturers to divert 80 per cent of their stocks for medical use and 20 per cent for industrial purposes. Now the government might divert 100 per cent oxygen supply for medical use considering the massive rise in the number of patients.

In a demand submitted to State Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar, industries have demanded that the government must address all the issues raised by the industries including oxygen supply as the sector has already suffered heavily during the series of lockdowns and new restrictions by the State.