A Few Facts About  Industrial And Medical Oxygen, And Our Callousness : A clarification

I wish to clarify that I am a scientist, I have no affiliations except to science and welfare of the society. I had made a few representations to PMO on subjects of scientific interest and societal need. I feel it is necessary to clarify the point that industrial oxygen and medical oxygen come from the same bottle!


With reference to the article (see link above), A Few Facts About  Industrial And Medical Oxygen, by co-authors, Hanuman  Lal Bengani and Dr. M. Bapuji, published in CC on April 26, a communication from Linde India Ltd (see below) was received by me from my friends in CSIR’s IIP- Indian Institute of Petroleum, Dehradun disputing unspecified points in our article. I worked in CSIR for more than three decades, and was a President of CSIR-SWA, an association of around 6000 scientists with PhDs, including those from IIP.

Our article begins mentioning Bengani as a former CEO of Linde india.in, and  quotes his note in “his own words.”

Now readers my please note that the following message was received.


The statement may be taken as it is on its face value : It is ambiguous, does not clearly say what exactly is the claim that is sought to be disputed.

It gave a copy of the original note by Hanuman  Lal Bengani, co-author, which was the first part of the article. It says that “the note is replete with factual and technical errors”

However, neither the statement, nor the copy of the original note given by Linde India , carry any communication, beyond what is copied above, or any rounding-off marks, which Linde India Ltd disputes.

There is nothing from Sri Hanuman Lal himself.

Let us therefore take note of the Linde’s statement for whatever it is worth. I have no issues with Linde India Ltd.

It may be further noted that the Prime Minister sri Narendra Modi convened meetings on crisis in supply of medical oxygen, including with industrialists.

PM holds a high level meeting on oxygen supply and availability, is the title of a press note issued by the Centre. (Govt Press release PIB Delhi 22 APR 2021 3:59PM ): https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1713393

It says:

“PM Narendra Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the oxygen supply across the country and discuss ways and means to boost its availability. The officials briefed him on the efforts undertaken in the last few weeks to improve the supply of oxygen…”

“PM directed the officials to ensure that oxygen supply to various states happen in a smooth, unhindered manner. He spoke about the need to fix responsibility with the local administration in cases of obstruction. He also asked ministries to explore various innovative ways to increase production & supply of oxygen… PM stressed on the need to ensure faster transportation of oxygen to the states.”

Prime Minister’s Office issued another statement, 23 APR 2021 5:56PM by PIB Delhi, that is titled: PM Modi interacts with leading oxygen manufacturers across the country ( via Video conference).

The statement lists those present:

“Shri Mukesh Ambani, CMD of RIL, Smt. Soma Mondal, Chairperson of SAIL, Shri Sajjan Jindal of JSW, Shri Narendran of Tata Steel, Shri Naveen Jindal of JSPL, Shri Dilip Oommen of AMNS, Shri M Bannerjee of LINDE, Shri Sidharth Jain of Inox, Shri Noriyo Shibuya, MD of Air Water Jamshedpur, Shri Rajesh Kumar Saraf of National Oxygen Ltd and Shri Saket Tiku, President of All India Industrial Gases Manufacturer’s Association were present during the meeting. (Release ID: 1713590)”

Linde India  Ltd’s representative is among those who attended.

The above statement by Linde is obviously issued after the said meeting with PM. They had their own reasons – we will not go into that – to issue the statement.

We have no issues with Linde India Ltd, as stated above.

Our concern is about crisis in oxygen supplies which led to scores of deaths, and a warning by the Delhi High Court.

Delhi’s Gangaram Hospital witnessed 25 deaths for want of oxygen. The Jaipur Golden Hospital told the Delhi High Court on April 24 Saturday that 25 patients admitted to its critical care unit died late April 23 Friday night, allegedly due to shortage of oxygen. Dr. Pradip Bijalwan, aged 60 years, who was working with the homeless people in Delhi for close to a decade, and also helped them during the Covid pandemic, died on April 23 Friday due to lack of oxygen. He had tested positive for Covid-19.

It is good that PM took some initiative, and let us hope things would be resolved sooner than later.  Efforts by the PM confirm the crisis in the oxygen supplies, which is the content and purpose of the article. The media is full of stories about the problem, and the urgency the Govt NOW attached to the problem, which is welcome even if belated.


The New York Times News paper, May 15, 2007, had published an expert’s answer:  “There is practically no difference between industrial and medical oxygen,” said Ravi K. Bansal, chief executive of the Airsep Corporation of Buffalo, which produces both kinds. This is one of the points we made in our article.

“Medical Oxygen available, yet not available”

That is the title of an article Times of India published on April 21, written by Saroj Chadda, in a column, Blunt and frank.   The author clearly says that it is due to bureaucratic bungling and not political!

Saroj served in the Indian Army as a technical officer for 23 years and opted for premature retirement in 1991. His operational service includes 1971 India-Pakistan war in high altitudes, where oxygen is a critical problem. It says, among other things, industrial oxygen manufacturers can easily switch to produce medical oxygen. It further reads:

“ What are the reasons for medical oxygen crisis in the country? 

“It is clear that that there is no shortage of medical oxygen capacity in the country. The non-availability in critical states is primarily due to lack of foresight and advance planning. If all available resources across the country had been mapped, activated in time with a fool proof logistical model in place, this situation would have never occurred. The meetings and measures taken in last few weeks should have been initiated months ago.

“The failure smacks of the ever present bureaucratic red tape and excessive control that is the bane of our government at all levels. The size and composition of EG 2 (Empowered Group-2, headed by secretary in charge of Union Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade ) clearly supports this charge apart from the fact that it failed to augment the medical oxygen supply despite starting work in March 2020.

“It defies logic as to why the Prime Minister of the country should chair meetings for supply and distribution of medical oxygen or why a Chief Minister should be requesting him for additional supplies for his state. This is not a subject that needed such escalation. Health is a state subject and concerned state departments should have been seized of the need for this vital commodity in advance instead of waking up when the patient count had crossed two hundred thousand nationally.

“The center at the best should have acted as a prodder or catalyst to get them moving instead of controlling and failing.”


Cartoon by E.P. Unny | The Indian Express


Dr M Bapuji : An activist who was a Retd. Senior Scientist, CSIR 1973-2002 (30 yrs), in Odisha, with vast experience across disciplines. M.Bapuji, born 1948, had a Ph.D. in organic chemistry, he guided six to Ph.D in varied cross disciplinary subjects, and was associated with various universities and an IIT. Has published 70 papers, holds 6 Patents, transferred 9 technologies to industry, helped stop imports of a group of chemicals. He discovered a 80km-long ridge reef off Odisha coast, reported about 140 sponges, corals etc for the first time from this reef. Established lab for microbes associated with sedentary fauna. Studied over 1200 microbes from this resource. Was General Secretary (3 yrs) and President (3 yrs) for All India CSIR Scientific Workers’ Association (SWA) affiliated to the World Federation of Scientific Workers

He was Director of a rural PG centre at G.Mamidada for five years; senior academic consultant for several universities for The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU), Bangalore. In recent past he was a Visiting Professor and Research Adviser, Acharya BM Reddy College of Pharmacy, Bangalore. Worked on fluorosis voluntarily with Fluorosis Mitigation Research and Resource Center (as Scientific Adviser, FMRRC, Hubli, Karnataka, founded by Dr. KS Sharma). Working on improvement of tribal schools, education, labs, faculty in W.Godavari dt(AP). Currently based at Hyderabad. Has contributed to countercurrents.org, mainly on fluorosis.

He contributed articles to countercurrents.org

 Email  :[email protected]



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