Govt moves to restore PSM oxygen plant amid virus uptick

The approval came within 24 hours of the letter sent to Premier Imran by the engineers


Kashif Hussain April 26, 2021
PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI:

In view of the third wave of rapidly intensifying coronavirus in the country, the government has initiated the process to rehabilitate the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) oxygen plant to meet the demand for oxygen in the country.

According to sources, the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), on the recommendation of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has given a green signal to the National Engineers Welfare Association, an association of experts affiliated with the PSM, to conduct a preliminary review of the oxygen plant.

The approval came within 24 hours of the letter sent to Premier Imran by the engineers.

The PSM sources said that the prime minister has given the task of rehabilitation of the oxygen plant to Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar, who has mobilised the platform of the NCOC for the purpose.

A team of experts, including those from the Pakistan Army Engineering Corps, will make its first visit to the Pakistan Steel's oxygen plant on Tuesday (today), the sources said.

Speaking to The Express Tribune, Mohsin Ali Khan, the convener of National Engineers Welfare Association, which provides services for the rehabilitation of the oxygen plant, confirmed the high-level contacts for the rehabilitation of the oxygen plant.

Mohsin said that in response to the letter sent to the prime minister, the NCOC has contacted the national engineers association and offered all kinds of support.

The convener said that technical inspection was required for the rehabilitation of the oxygen plant and that he was forming a team of retired Pakistan Steel engineers to work on it.

“In the next few days, the team will inspect the plant more than once to work out a rehabilitation plan.”

He said that the plant has been closed since 2015 but all its facilities are available and very few equipment will be required to be imported.

“Most of the repairs can be done by the Pakistan Steel engineers on their own while even minor spare parts can be manufactured locally.”

He said that power supply to the oxygen plant is the most important issue because before the plant shut down, Pakistan Steel used to supply power to the oxygen plant from its own power plant.

However, now the electricity is being taken from K Electric, “so arrangements will have to be made to transmit power to the plant through a heavy line”.

“Much of the work will have to be done to remove the rust gathered due to the closure of the plant and to repair leaking equipment, including replacement of choked gas pipelines.

He said that electrical engineers are also being hired in the maintenance team.

After the initial assessment, he said, a report will be prepared and submitted to the government and in the light of this report, the duration of the operation of rehabilitation of the oxygen plant will be determined.

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