O2 cylinders: Once stocked for emergency, now being returned to plants
O2 cylinders which have been standing uselessly are being returned; superstition involved too, say some dealers
During Coronavirus’s deadly second wave people were desperate for the oxygen cylinders. As the third wave set in, they stocked oxygen cylinders at home in large numbers in order to pre-empt the horrors they witnessed during the second wave.
Now that the third wave has come and gone with little use for the oxygen cylinders, people are returning cylinders to oxygen plants.
In the last two weeks, 9,000 cylinders have been returned to the plant, which are now struggling to store them.
“The pace of return is heavy for us. It is a problem for us not only in terms of storage but paying back the surety money we had taken. And, now that we are taking these cylinders back, how do we sell them? The demand is at pre-Covid-19 level,” said Ajay Mishra, managing director, Murari Industrial Gas.
According to plant owners, before the second wave, gas plants were supplying 35,000 cylinders of different sizes to hospitals and nursing homes. Some 10,000 cylinders were added when the oxygen demand skyrocketed during the second wave.
Ahead of the third wave, people began stocking cylinders and bought 12,000 from the plants. The jumbo cylinders were purchased for ₹18,000, mid-sized ones from ₹15,000, and the small ones for between ₹8,000 to ₹10,000.
Sumit Babbar of Babbar Gas Fazalgunj said that the cylinders being returned also has a superstition angle to it: keeping them at home was not auspicious. “This is the reason we are hearing from most people,” he said.
These cylinders are in addition to nearly 10000 cylinders, which have gone missing. These cylinders were given as charity to people for free by different organisations during the second wave but they were not returned by people.