Over 340 delegates from across India and from overseas gathered at Le Meridien Hotel in New Delhi yesterday to hear presentations on various aspects of industry, safety and growth opportunities in the Indian market.

Entitled ‘Gases – Industries’ Invisible Backbone’, the conference was organised by the All Indian Industrial Gases Manufacturing Association (AIIGMA) and an inauguration speech was provided by former President of India – Dr Abdul Kalam.

As a scientist, Dr Kalam was particularly interested in our industry, but expressed concern that it appeared that 80% of the worldwide gases business was dominated by seven players and wondered whether Indian based companies could play on the international field, as well as developing new technologies in India at the same time.

Also a fan of hydrogen, he hoped that India could lead hydrogen technology research into more environmentally friendly processes for generating the gas. Interestingly, Dr Kalam was seen reading a copy of gasworld before he stood up to provide his speech!

Newfound independency
The 31st National Seminar on Industrial Gases (NSIG) was opened by current AIIGMA Chairman Karan Bhatia, who gave an introductory speech on how the association was formed 30 years ago (his father was one of the founding members) and noted that at the time, India was very dependent on external help in the industrial gases business and relied heavily on imported technology and know-how.

The gases business in India has evolved a great deal since then and many companies established manufacturing capability and technology in India –“becoming independent” - but now was a time of “interdependency” as India needed to continue to learn but also share development, technology, safety with other regions and organisations.

Certainly AIIGMA is changing, and this conference shows the change happening with more emphasis on safety and technology needs. gasworld will be providing a full report of presentations, themes and comments over the next few days.

The gathering was also boosted by a concurrent meeting of the ISO Technical Committee 58, regarding cylinders and cylinder technical harmonisation.