In a bid to bridge the shortage of ventilators in the country amid rising cases of coronavirus, the Uttar Pradesh government has given approval to Noida-based Agva Healthcare to manufacture and supply 10,000 life-supporting devices in partnership with Maruti Suzuki India. AgVa Healthcare, in a joint venture with Maruti Suzuki India, will deliver 10,000 ventilators to central government in a month, a state government official said.
"A Noida-based firm AgVa Healthcare, in conjunction with Maruti Suzuki (automobile giant), in association with several firms, are going to do the job. Chief executive officer (CEO), Noida, has facilitated what all the UP government needs to do," Additional chief secretary (Home) Awanish Awasthi reportedly said.
"Ventilators are vital towards saving the lives of such coronavirus patients, whose illness attains severity. Making 10,000 ventilators, a highly specialised and complicated lifesaving machine, in a month is no mean task. It will be a record of sorts, but more than the record, it will be a swift response to the epidemic," he said.
On March 28, auto major Maruti Suzuki India had announced that it entered into an arrangement with AgVA Healthcare to produce up to 10,000 ventilators per month to help bridge the shortfall.
According to state government official, AgVa will use its technology and expertise while Maruti Suzuki will provide manpower and additional space to manufacture ventilator. State-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) will provide electronic chips for the ventilators.
The official said that the ventilator manufacturer has been facing problems due to the lockdown and manpower crisis. The government has sorted the issue by providing 126 passes to manpower for their movement under the lockdown, he added.
Meanwhile, Narendra Bhooshan, Chief Executive Officer of Greater Noida Authority, has been asked to assist Maruti in issues related to the manufacturing and supply of ventilators to hospitals across the state.
Amit Mohan Prasad, principal secretary, health, said the government needs extra ventilators for installation in COVID-19 dedicated hospitals.
With the number of COVID-19 cases in India rising every day and the death toll reaching over 50, the shortage of ventilators in the country is likely to get woefully exposed in the days to come. According to a Brookings report, if the number of cases spirals in India, it may need as many as 1,10,000-2,20,000 ventilators as early as mid-May. It estimated the number of ventilators today in the country at a maximum 57,000.
The Indian government has reached out to other companies including Mahindra and Mahindra, Tata Motors and Hyundai to look at ways to manufacture ventilators expeditiously.
By Chitranjan Kumar with agencies inputs