The Vedanta Group, India’s leading producer of metals and oil & gas, has aligned with the government initiatives to supplement its efforts in tackling the second wave of the Covid pandemic.
Group companies Hindustan Zinc (HZL) and ESL have stepped in to augment oxygen supplies to Covid-19 patients as part of its Vedanta Cares initiative. Sterlite Copper, which has one of the largest oxygen facilities in the country at Tuticorin, has reached out to the Tamil Nadu government and Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan with its offer to help, seeking approval to operate its 1,000 tonnes per day oxygen plant to meet the rising demand. The company has also filed a petition outlining its offer to help in the Supreme Court in view of the legal proceedings.
HZL has supplied 1,500 litres of industrial oxygen to the Udaipur health administration. The company transported a 1000 litre liquid oxygen tanker from its industrial oxygen plant at Rajpura Dariba Complex, which has dedicated 100% of its monthly production of oxygen to hospitals. HZL is supplying industrial oxygen, which will undergo a clinical procedure to be used for medical treatment.
ESL, the Vedanta group’s steel maker, has registered its plant near Bokaro for Liquid Medical Oxygen (LMO). ESL has committed to supply upto 10 MT of oxygen daily, based on the steel ministry’s requirement.
Meanwhile, in a bid to support the local communities at a time when there is a sharp surge in Covid-19 infections, Vedanta is providing hospital care and medical facilities in every location where it operates. The company has vaccinated over 5000 employees and family members across the group.
According to Vedanta Group CEO Sunil Duggal: “At Vedanta we have been at the forefront of the fight against Covid-19. Now that the country is facing an acute shortage of medical oxygen, our businesses are doing all that is possible to ramp up supplies. HZL and ESL have already started supplying oxygen for Covid patients, while Sterlite Copper has sought approval for supplying 1,000 tonne per day of oxygen from the Tuticorin plant. We are working with local administration to provide medical facilities, our hospitals are managing Covid patients and our medical team is organising vaccination for our employees and local communities.”
At the 170-bed cancer hospital Balco Medical Centre (BMC), 69 beds have been dedicated for COVID patients. BMC is the only COVID hospital in Naya Raipur with liquid medical oxygen (LMO) tanks. With BMC turning into a COVID facility, it is open to all public and provides tele-consultation and ambulance service. It is also undertaking the entire gamut of COVID prevention, treatment and clinical research, apart from performing COVID vaccination, RTPCR testing, Antibody testing, and Convalescent plasma therapy for COVID patients.
The Balco Hospital at Korba has conducted more than 10,000 Covid tests, while more than 3500 residents have received the vaccination at the hospital. In addition to the hospital in Balco Township, the company has tied up with four private hospitals in Korba and Raipur to ensure well being of the employees.
Vedanta is supporting a 110-bed district Covid Hospital at Jharsuguda in Odisha, including 10 beds in the ICU unit. In addition to a dedicated ambulance for the district Covid hospital, Jharsuguda and supply of 2000 N95 masks to district front line health workers, Vedanta is also providing high power generators to the Covid hospital at Jharsuguda to ensure uninterrupted power supply. Currently there is a dedicated 138-bed Covid care centre at Vedanta Limited, Jharsuguda which is supported by two dedicated ambulances.
At Vedanta Lanjigarh, there are tie ups with oxygen supply agencies at Bhawanipatna and Rayagada, three units of Visakhapatnam-Apollo Hospital and two units of Care Hospital. Another collaboration with Bhubaneswar-Apollo Hospital is currently under process.
Vedanta has also set up a 24/7 dedicated helpline from Apollo to provide medical assistance to all its employees and their families.
Vedanta Zinc International, which has operations in South Africa has also tied up with hospitals in Springbok, Upington or Cape Town for Covid support. In terms of potential oxygen supply, it has Defibrillators and oxygen available on site at the Mine Medical Centre to stabilize patients in terms of initial support in case they need to be transported to a more advanced medical facility.
Last year, Vedanta had contributed Rs 101 crore to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund in the wake of the Covid crisis. The contribution complemented Vedanta’s commitment of creating an Rs 100-crore corpus catering to three specific areas–livelihood of the daily wage workers across the nation, preventive health care and support to all its employees and contract partners across its plant locations.