“The pandemic has intensified and in many parts of the country, there are deaths due to oxygen shortage. The MNM do agree with the need for more life-saving oxygen production. But my party disagrees with the need for reopening the Sterlite for the purpose,” he said in a statement.
“Is there no other plant apart from Vedanta Sterlite Copper plant for producing oxygen in Tamil Nadu?” he wondered.
Tamil Nadu is capable of producing 400 metric tonnes of liquid medical oxygen per day and the demand is 240 metric tonnes. TN also has the facility to store 1,200 tonnes of oxygen.
Noting that oxygen can be produced in any factory, he said in Gujarat, the Banas Milk Cooperative Society has set up an oxygen plant in just 72 hours and started production. “Many states are self-sufficient in oxygen production. Experts say the real problem is that there are no supply facilities to carry oxygen to where it is needed. Therefore, it is not appropriate to open the Sterlite plant to produce oxygen.” Criticising the AIADMK government for not inviting MNM, MDMK, VCK and Naam Tamilar Katchi for the all-party meeting, he said a unanimous decision was reached by inviting the parties which would support the opening of the Sterlite plant. “An all-party meeting which was not convened during the lockdown when lakhs of people starved and several met with accidents while walking to their home but for the opening of the Sterlite,” he said, asserting that oxygen production should not be done by nullifying the struggle of the Thoothukudi people who sacrificed their lives for closure of Sterlite.
CPM state secretary K Balakrishnan said Sterlite should be allowed to operate for the purpose only if the state government takes over the plant.