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‘PM Cares’ ventilators: 113 of 150 supplied in Marathwada ‘defective’, Bombay HC asks Centre to explain

After taking cognizance of news reports, the High Court noted that out of 150 ventilators supplied through PM Cares funds in the region, except 37 ventilators which are yet to be unboxed, 113 ventilators put to use at government or private hospitals are found to be defective.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: May 25, 2021 9:15:02 pm
PM Cares Ventilators, Modi PM Cares ventilators, Faulty PM Cares ventilators, India PM Cares ventilators, indian express newsVentilators at YCM hospital. (Express File/Representational)

The Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday took serious cognizance of “defective” ventilators supplied to the Marathwada region through PM Cares funds and directed the Central Government’s lawyer to inform about the action to be taken against the supplier and remedial steps to be taken to address the issue.

After taking cognizance of news reports, the High Court noted that out of 150 ventilators supplied through PM Cares funds in the region, except 37 ventilators which are yet to be unboxed, 113 ventilators put to use at government or private hospitals are found to be defective.

“We find the situation as regards to dysfunctional ventilators through the PM Cares fund to be quite serious…ventilators are believed to be lifesaving instruments and malfunctioning can put lives of patients in danger,” the HC said and asked the AssistantSolicitor General Ajay G Talhar to inform it about the correctional methods in case the ventilators are found to be defective.

A division bench of Justices Ravindra V Ghuge and Bhalchandra U Debadwar was hearing a suo motu PIL based on news reports to address issues of funeral rites of Covid-19 patients, shortage of medical oxygen supply and black marketing of Remdesivir among others.

Amicus Curiae Satyajeet S Bora, appointed by court to assist it with the case, submitted news reports pertaining to non-functional ventilators.

Chief Public Prosecutor D R Kale representing the state government submitted a compilation of documents pertaining to 150 ventilators received through PM Cares fund by the dean of Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH), Aurangabad.

He submitted that a company named Jyoti CNC had manufactured the said ventilators with model name DHAMAN- III and that the GMCH had deployed 17 ventilators that developed “extremely serious flaws”. The court noted that flaws included ‘no-inlet oxygen (O2) pressure’ display and patient becoming hypoxic when on ventilator and same were “life-threatening”.

The court was also informed that 55 ventilators were distributed to Hingoli, Osmanabad, Beed and Parbhani districts and 41 ventilators were allotted to private hospitals with a condition that they would not charge the patients for the same. Moreover, 37 ventilators available with the GMCH have yet not been unboxed.


CPP Kale referred to letters received from private hospitals, indicating that all 41 ventilators supplied to them were found “non-functional” and they had declined to utilise them as a “serious threat to the life of the patients was created” and have written to authorities to take back the ventilators.

The Dean of government hospital in Ambajogai, Beed district also informed that none of the ventilators supplied are “‘worthy of being put to use”.

“The company (errant) should not get away with this. It is the state exchequer money, it’s not bounty to be distributed,” the court orally observed.

The court, however, noted that nearly 74 other ventilators supplied by several industrialists including Garware Polyester, Bajaj Auto, Hindalco etc. are “perfectly operational and flawless”.

The Court asked the Centre’s lawyer as to why it cannot retrieve all of the ‘defective’ ventilators and send them back.

The HC orally observed, “We appreciate that the Central ministry gave them (ventilators), but it is likely to be a health risk or health hazard to the patients…Let the government realize they had supplied inferior quality ventilators, let them go back and replace them with certain good quality ventilators. If the PM cares fund is to be used for providing ventilators, it should be ventilators worthy of medical use, if they ain’t worthy of the same, it is just a box.”

The court also expressed its displeasure over politicians’ jumping into the issue of non-functional ventilators.

“We find it to be distasteful as some politicians have visited the hospital posing as if they have knowledge or expertise to inspect the ventilators and recommend correctional methods,” the bench said and appealed to politicians to refrain from such statements and visits to hospitals to inspect ventilators.

The court will hear the suo motu PIL next on May 28.

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