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As Centre deflects blame, manufacturer sends team to repair faulty ventilators in Punjab

A team of engineers from the ventilator manufacturer, BEL, reached Faridkot for repairing the faulty gadgets on Thursday. Five faulty ventilators in Faridokot medical college hospital were repaired during the course of the day.

Written by Raakhi Jagga | Ludhiana |
May 14, 2021 1:47:02 am
As Centre deflects blame, manufacturer sends team to repair faulty ventilators in PunjabThe ventilators sent to Faridkot are manufactured by BEL and AGVA. (Representational Image)

The row over faulty ventilators sent to Punjab using the PM Cares Fund escalated Thursday as Centre blamed local infrastructure issues for the defects, while state authorities countered it by saying that their own ventilators were up and running using the same existing facilities.

A team of engineers from the ventilator manufacturer, BEL, reached Faridkot for repairing the faulty gadgets on Thursday. Five faulty ventilators in Faridokot medical college hospital were repaired during the course of the day.

After reassessing the number of ventilators received by Punjab’s medical colleges under PM Cares Fund, Dr Raj Bahadur, professional adviser to state’s Covid-19 response and procurement committee and V-C, Baba Farid University of Health and Sciences (BFUHS), released a break-up of the 320 ventilators received by the three government medical colleges from Centre. “Of these, 113 came in Guru Gobind Singh Medical College and Hospital (GGSMCH), Faridkot , while 98 reached Rajindra Medical College, Patiala and 109 were given to Government Medical College, Amritsar.”

“These came in batches, and after repeated visits by engineers, 48 of 98 ventilators in Patiala were made functional, in Amritsar only 12 are functional and in Faridkot, 23 were made functional,” he added, saying that at last count Faridkot had 90 out of 113 ventilators in non-usable state out of which 5 more were repaired on Thursday. However, the repaired ones have still not been put to use anywhere because the anesthetists are not confident about using them.”

The ventilators sent to Faridkot are manufactured by BEL and AGVA.

Centre’s press statement, meanwhile, said that there are problems with the infrastructure in the Faridkot medical college, including non-availability of required pressure in the central oxygen gas pipelines, adding that consumables like flow sensors, bacteria filters and HME filters are not being changed by the hospital authorities as per the prescribed norms or the ventilators are being used without these important consumable items.

Countering the Union government’s claims, Dr Bahadur said: “Centre is focusing on GGSMCH only because I am the one who has been raising the matter about this issue and giving regular information about malfunctioning of these ventilators. Also, if they have raised questions about the infrastructure of our medical colleges, then how come the existing ventilators of our medical colleges are in working order? Every day, before Covid emergencies, we used to conduct so many surgeries, we treat so many patients. Our Fairdkot medical college has no issue of oxygen and we are even providing it to other medical colleges as well. In addition to this, if ventilators have no issue, what was the need of the team of engineers of BEL to visit our hospital premises and start repairing the ventilators?”

He added: “Government should have provided a long term annual maintenance contract of these ventilators and even the companies should have the employed enough staff to provide services after sales.”

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