LOOK FOR THE FIREFLIES

about 5 months ago
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We are surrounded, downing, in negative news all around. And we don’t need more of the same, right?

We thought of telling you this heartwarming development – something which the seers and saints spoke about in their lectures – of war equipment used for saving lives.

Krishna wields the deadly Sudarshan Chakra – a weapon of war which can track down the target, even if he goes under the earth, finish him and then come back to Krishna. On the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Krishna could have used the weapon and the war would have ended but that was not to be; he used the weapon only once – it blocked the sun at a very crucial juncture, last day of the war. Krishna knew when to use the weapon and how.

Well, we are literally at war; the entire world, at war with the virus. The death toll and the devastation of lives and livelihood is no less than a war; probably more.

The air we breathe itself has become a curse and for some, fighting the war has necessitated the need for more air, oxygen. We all have seen and read enough of the horrific stories over the shortage of oxygen. And the silver lining here – almost each and every company which was producing oxygen for industrial purposes is now making it for medical use and supplying it to the required states.

Tata Steel is supplying up to 300 tonnes of medical oxygen on a daily basis to various state governments and hospitals; JSPL also said it is supplying 50-100 tonne oxygen daily from its facilities at Angul (Odisha) and Raigarh (Chhattisgarh). SAIL supplied more than 33,300 tonnes of liquid medical oxygen (LMO) from its integrated steel plants at Bokaro Bhilai, Rourkela, Durgapur and Burnpur. ArcelorMittal Nippon is supplying 200 tonnes of medical oxygen per day to health facilities in Gujarat. Rashtriya Ispat Nigam Limited (Vizag Steel Plant) has also been supplying liquid oxygen to Andhra Pradesh.

Reliance Industries has tweaked manufacturing at its Jamnagar oil refineries to produce over 700 tonnes per day of medical-grade oxygen and it is being ramped up to 1000 tpd. JSW Steel is planning to ramp-up production and supply 600 tpd from its three plants spread across Karnataka (Ballari), Maharashtra (Dolvi) and Tamil Nadu (Salem).

Vedanta group has offered to supply oxygen from its closed Sterlite copper plant at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu - the plant contains two oxygen plants with a combined capacity to produce 1,050 tonnes of oxygen daily.  

Great stepping-up by India Inc but the most heartwarming news, which actually inspired this article was that of Indian Air Force’s Light Combat Aircraft, Tejas; it has got the go-ahead from Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to use the on-board oxygen generation system to save civilian lives.

This is a fantastic innovation developed specifically for Tejas where within the aircraft itself there is a generation plant that can produce 1,000 litres of oxygen every minute. This is now being diverted for civilian use.  The technology has been transferred to the private industry and the Uttar Pradesh government has already placed an order for five such plants.

An innovation designed for war or for soldiers located in high altitudes is today being used to save lives and bring some semblance of peace – that’s the story we all need to talk about – how the pandemic has taught us to use war equipment for peace. Again, this is something which we only talk about – the pandemic has made us do it.

The current crisis is alarming but for all of us to survive, we need to look for such silver linings to keep us going. We do not know how long this dark tunnel is but we are in it now; so lets try and look for the fireflies – at least some of the darkness surrounding us will dissipate.

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