Sindh ready to invest Rs1b to revive Steel Mills oxygen plant

KARACHI: The Sindh Chief Minister, Syed Murad Ali Shah, has said that keeping in view the Covid-19 situation in the country, especially in Sindh, his government would intervene to make both the units of oxygen at Pakistan Steel Mills operational at the cost of Rs 1 billion.

“We are passing through a very serious situation; therefore, we have to be prepared to face any emergency,” Murad Ali Shah said while speaking to senior doctors and leading physicians at the CM House on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by provincial ministers Dr Azra Fazal Pechuho, Nasir Shah, Adviser Murtaz Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, VC Dow Dr Saeed Qureshi, Dr Bari, Dr Faisal Mehmood, Dr Shehla Baqi, Executive Director JPMC, Dr Seemin Jamali, Dr Nusrat Shah, Dr Rafiq Khokhar, Dr Qaiser Sajjad, Dr Ghaffar Shoro, Dr Sharif Hashmi, Dr Qazi Wasiq, Dr Anoop, Dr Sabir Memon and others. At the outset of the meeting, the chief minister said that the new wave of coronavirus had badly affected major cities. “We are also facing its severity and trying to take all feasible measures to control the situation,” he said. The doctors urged the chief minister to make necessary arrangements for production of oxygen. “If oxygen is given timely to a patient, his chances of going to the ventilators are reduced,” Dr Qaiser Sajjad said and added the provincial government should operationalise the oxygen plant of the Pakistan Steel Mills. The CM said that a team of the federal government had visited the plant and reported that it could not be revived. “We held a meeting with the officers of the Pakistan Steel Mills along with Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto, and they told us that it could be revived within three months at a cost of Rs1 billion,” he said and added he would send his expert team to see if it was possible to revive the plant and in that case, the provincial government was ready to spend Rs1 billion.

“We desperately need oxygen for which we would make all efforts,” he vowed. The doctors also suggested the government to strictly enforce the Covid-19 SOPs. "The situation in Sindh, at present, is not as bad as the other provinces but Hyderabad, and Karachi's districts East and South have been affected badly,” they pointed out. The doctors appreciated the efforts of the Sindh government and said the establishment of Infectious Diseases Hospital in Karachi, provision of ventilators to every district and recruitment of doctors and para-medical staff were commendable.

CM Murad Ali Shah said that he had directed the district administration and the police to work in close coordination to ensure proper implementation of the SOPs. He added that the Karachi administration on Monday issued 93 warnings for non-wearing of masks. As many as 28 shops/markets were issued challans for opening beyond the closing timing and Rs504,500 fine recovered and 510 shops/markets were sealed, 13 people were arrested and 271 were issued warning.

The CM added that 71 transporters were issued challans for violating SOPs and Rs35,000 recovered in fines. Similarly, three restaurants were also issued challans and Rs28,000 was recovered in fines, and one restaurant was sealed after several warnings. He said while the government was taking drastic measures, doctors, Ulema and other compelling personalities must play also role to educate the people against the pandemic.

The doctors also suggested the CM to vaccinate the elderly at their homes, for which he had directed secretary health. On the suggestion of the doctors, the chief minister decided to facilitate private hospitals’ use and government hospitals cold storage chain to store Covid vaccines. Murad Ali Shah told the doctors that the government kept auditing its health facilities to ensure availability of all the required and relevant material.

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