As India grapples with a shortage of protective medical gear amid the COVID-19 outbreak, Punjab's textile industry has stepped forward to domestically produce Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), especially hazmat suits needed by healthcare professionals across the country.
Textile manufacturers in the state have come forward with samples of hazmat suits within a span of a week, to tackle the health crisis. These are not only of high quality but will be more cost-efficient than the imported ones.
Seeing their dedication and quality of work, the Union government has placed an order for 15 lakh pieces of hazmat suits and PPE worth Rs 150 crore with five textile manufacturers of Punjab, including JCT Phagwara and four textile and hosiery industry in Ludhiana. These samples have also been approved by authorized laboratories as well.
"The response was good from the businessmen and samples of Punjab manufacturers were transported to Delhi in a special vehicle after which these were airlifted to Coimbatore for testing at the South India Textile Research Association (SITRA)," said Mahesh Khanna, General Manager of Industry Centre, Ludhiana, Punjab Government. He also added that as of now three companies had been cleared to manufacture PPE receiving large orders from central government organizations like HLL to the tunes of several hundred crores. "An order of 10 lakh suits has been placed with JCT alone," he revealed.
Mahesh Khanna added that they were receiving a lot of support from the ministries of textile, health and civil aviation in this initiative. Now a few firms in Ludhiana firms are looking into developing ventilators as well. "We have already got interested industrialists in touch with the multi-speciality hospitals like Fortis and Max so that they can get all the technical help and develop ventilators at the earliest," he added.
Amit Jain, who is the Managing director of a firm called Shingora Textile spoke to news agency ANI revealing that they had started working on the development of PPEs just five days before the lockdown was imposed. He also added that this would help provide employment opportunities to the labourers as well.
"Our product can be used by doctors and the workers at the frontline. It is reusable which can be used as many as 25 times. It can also be sterilized in the hospitals. It is SITRA approved as well. Our products are less costly as compared to the products developed in China," said Amit Jain.