Picture for representational purpose only.
HYDERABAD: While Hyderabad’s oxygen demand has largely stabilised over the past week – with tonnes being shipped in from other states – the cost of oxygen continues to be abnormally high across the city, say industry sources.
A quick market survey by TOI revealed that dealers are still selling liquid oxygen for anywhere between Rs 150 and Rs 170 per cubic meter (CUM) — more than 10 times the cost fixed by the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) — while refilling plants are quoting Rs 1,500 and upwards for a jumbo cylinder. The normal cost of refilling these cylinders (46.7 litres) isn’t more than Rs 400 to Rs 600.
“Earlier, we used to have 400 to 500 people queuing up for refill cylinders every day. That number has dropped to 100 (or less) now. Similarly, with hospitals, the requirement has reduced by about 40%. Yet, manufacturers are citing an artificial demand and charging exorbitant rates,” alleged an executive from a refilling plant in Jalpally attributing this to the high cost of refilling.
Another refilling plant in Miyapur, that TOI called, said: “We are getting supplies from other states, hence, the cost is high. We cannot give it for anything less than Rs 1,500 (for a jumbo).”
Faced with a shortfall of about 100 to 150 tonnes of oxygen last month, Telangana started sourcing it from other parts of the country – primarily Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and even Andhra Pradesh.
“The additional supplies have certainly helped stablise the requirement. But since we are not being able to get refills at a lower cost, we aren’t being able to pass the benefit on to our customers,” said a trader of oxygen cylinders from Mehdipatnam claiming that some plants – including GST — are charging up to Rs 2,000 for a refill. “We only add transportation cost to this and an extra Rs 100, while lending the cylinders. But even that is very steep for some patients,” he said.
Manufacturers, however, insist that they are sticking to the rulebook. “We are selling at Rs 15.22 per CUM and not more,” said ESK Sastry, general manager at Inox Air Products Ltd.