Dubai: Members of an Indian expatriate group in the UAE are leading efforts to build an oxygen plant in Kerala.
Indian Cultural Foundation (ICF), the volunteers’ wing of Dubai Markaz Centre, along with other overseas branches of ICF, has pledged to build the oxygen plant in Kerala, said Shereef Karassery, a Dubai ICF representative who functions as administrative secretary of ICF Gulf Council.
Shereef, who is also the general manager of the Gulf edition of Malayalam newspaper Siraj, told Gulf News that ICF Gulf Council decided to build the Dh500,000 oxygen plant in response to the ‘Care for Kerala’ initiative of Norka-Roots, a public sector undertaking for the welfare of expatriate Keralites.
Norka had launched the initiative, following an appeal from Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to expatriate Malayalis across the world to support Kerala in its battle against the pandemic. While Norka has been successful in garnering massive support from several expat Malayali organisations and individuals to send tonnes of oxygen relief supplies, ICF decided to help with a permanent solution for the shortage of medical oxygen.
“Oxygen concentrators are temporary solutions. A permanent solution would be an oxygen manufacturing plant,” said Shareef. “When Norka approached ICF, we came forward to accept the proposal.”
Plants for Wayanad
He said the plant would be built in the premises of the Sultan Bathery Taluk Hospital in Wayanad, a remote, hilly district. Currently, the sole producer of liquid oxygen in Kerala, is located in Kanjikode in Palakkad district.
“It takes several hours to reach Wayanad from Palakkad. The transportation via the Western Ghats’ rainforests becomes more difficult during monsoon. So, ICF chose to help the people in Wayanad with an oxygen plant over there,” said Shareef.
ICF chapters in all Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and Malaysia, and its ad hoc committees in the western countries as well — all working under the aegis of Sheikh Abubakr Ahmad, the Grand Mufti of India — will aid the project, he added.
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A Keralite businessman from Oman has also pledged to build another oxygen plant in Wayanad, said O.V. Mustafa, a UAE-based Norka Roots director.
Mohammed Ameen, managing director of Sea Pride, an Oman-based seafood processing and exporting company, is sponsoring the project proposed for Mananthavady, said Mustafa. “These plants are much-needed long-term solutions for the state. It is expected that more such plants will be set up to meet Kerala’s future needs,” Mustafa added, thanking the overseas sponsors.