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Punjab textile units manufacture PPE kits, N95 masks

Apr 03, 2020
Punjab textile units manufacture PPE kits, N95 masks

If all goes well, Punjab’s struggle to get required number of personal protective equipment (PPE) kits and N95 masks for healthcare professionals fighting coronavirus will soon be over.

Due to less number of manufacturers, resulting in wide gap between demand and supply, Punjab, like other states in the country, is grappling with shortage of PPE kits – full body cover suit with helmets, gloves and face shields -- and N95 masks –a device that covers the nose and mouth and helps a person from breathing in some substances -- putting the health professionals at great risk.

The Punjab government identified 10 textile units having capacity to manufacture the protective equipment, of which two have successful in making PPE kits while four have made N95 masks. These products have been sent for testing to national laboratories. If given approval, Punjab will not only be able to meet its own requirement but also help other states in meeting their demand of these scarce protective equipments.

Punjab is a textile hub with 14% of the total cotton yarn in India being produced in the state. The state is the largest producer of blended yarn and is ranked fourth in the country in spinning capacity. Ludhiana is the biggest manufacturing cluster for textiles in North India. The textile industry accounts for about 19% of the total industrial production of the state and contributes about 38% of the total exports from the State. USA, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran, Bangladesh, and Saudi Arabia are the top export destinations.

Sharing the details, Sibin C, director industries and commerce, Punjab, said that JCT Phagwara and Ludhiana-based Shingora textiles have manufactured PPE kits while four units have been able to make N95 masks. “Samples of PPE kit have been sent to Coimbatore and N95 mask to Delhi for testing,” said Sibin C. Adding, he said that the government will give them nod to manufacture these products after getting approval from testing agencies and the state health department and other state government will be able to procure safety kits from these units.

Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) president Dr Gagandeep Singh said that despite best efforts of the government, there is shortage of protective kits. “Due to shortage, doctors and other medical staff are not being provided protective kits as per the safety protocols framed by the central government,” said Dr Gagandeep, who hoped that products manufactured by Punjab units get approval of the testing agencies.

The Resident Doctors’ Association of Punjab Government Medical College, Amritsar, had earlier this week, had highlighted no availability of safety equipment. In the letter, doctors had stated that two resident doctors were admitted in the isolation ward for symptoms of coronavirus.