ISLAMABAD: Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday ordered the Ministry of Industries and Production to fix the price of oxygen cylinders within two days.

During the hearing of suo moto notice of coronavirus situation in the country, Advocate General of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa argued that suppliers are demanding exorbitant prices because the price of the vital gas is not fixed.

CEO of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) told the court that they cannot fix the price as oxygen production falls under the domain of the Ministry of Industries.

The court, on the plea of the KP government, directed to fix the price within two days and also submit a report on the way the prices have been set.

PSM oxygen plant

He also said that the Pakistan Steel Mill (PSM)’s oxygen plant is more or less 40 years old. 

“It will cost Rs 1 billion to activate the oxygen plant,” he noted, adding that the court will be provided with a detailed report related to the availability of oxygen in the country.

The Ministry of Industries and Production had earlier decided to assess the gas production plant and see whether it can be revived to meet the demand for oxygen, as cases of the coronavirus continue to surge in Pakistan. 

A delegation of technical experts visited the PSM and explored the possibilities of putting the plant to use to produce more oxygen.

The PSM plant has the capacity to produce 15,200 cubic metres of gas per hour.

Experts believe it will not be necessary to activate the main plant of the steel mills to run the oxygen plant. In addition, oxygen cylinders can also be manufactured at the steel mills, if the need arises.

A day earlier, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had informed doctors that the provincial government would “intervene” and operationalise the oxygen plants at the Pakistan Steel Mill located in Karachi for Rs1 billion.


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