The Central Government is obtaining 5,000 Ventilators from a Rajkot based company. The company has already supplied faulty breathing machines to Ahmedabad Civil Hospital. The Ahmedabad Civil Hospital is the largest COVID-19 hospital in the state.
The Alleged Connection
The said Company, Jyoti CNC’s promoters have close relations with top BJP leaders. Among them are the Virani’s who gifted PM Narendra Modi his famous monogrammed suit. He wore the expensive suit to an event with Barack Obama in 2015. They have a huge stake in the shareholding of Jyoti CNC. In addition to this, they are one of the biggest diamond merchants in the country with operations abroad.
PM CARES and Unfair Gains?
Gujarat’s principal health secretary, Jayanti Ravi said HLL Lifecare will buy them. HLL Lifecare is a Central Government Enterprise. At the beginning of the month, the Central Government stated that it was spending ₹2000 Crore for buying 50,000 ventilators that were “made in India”. Hence, it is possible that these ventilators are purchased using the resources of the PM CARES Fund.
Earlier, Jyoti CNC Automation Ltd supplied ventilators to Ahmedabad Civic Hospital for free. But, these ventilators proved to be inadequate when used on COVID-19 patients. The hospital had to put out an SOS for actual ventilators after the delivery of Jyoti CNC’c products.
The Chairman and MD of the company have close relations with the Gujrat CM.
Concerns over Quality
On May 18, Ahmedabad Mirror reported that doctors at the hospital were unhappy. They had asked the State Government to order proper ventilators. The doctors claimed that the ventilators supplied by Jyoti CNC were not good. Civil Hospital head of anaesthesia Shailesh Shah said:
“Luckily, until now, we used these ventilators [made by Jyoti CNC] on very few occasions. As high-end ventilators were available with us in enough numbers. Dhaman-1 is not a good replacement for high-end ventilators. Used only in an emergency when you have nothing else at hand”.
He further added that it is not a good idea to depend on Dhaman-1. Considering the increasing number of deaths in Gujarat. Around 900 of these ventilators were set up in Gujarat, 230 alone in Ahmedabad Civil Hospital.
A BBC journalist tweeted that his brother in law had died in Ahmedabad’s Civil Hospital. He wanted to know whether his treatment involved Dhaman-1.
Botched up testing and hasty approval
It is also reported that the ventilators were only tested on one person before its launch. Both the Chief Minister and his deputy were present during its testing on a patient. Reportedly, these ventilators were not licensed from the Drug Controller General of India.
Is it a ventilator or not?
When the issue arose, the government claimed they never called the machines “ventilators”. Although, in the Press release, they referred to the machine as a ventilator nine times. They also called it a “glorious achievement”. In addition to this, claimed that it would “add a new feather” to Modi’s dream campaign of “Make in India”.
During its launch, the Gujrat CM was all praises for the product.
“I am happy to announce that in 10 days. An industrialist from Rajkot has manufactured ventilators. They designed it, made a prototype, procured parts, and built ventilators. Their testing and certification are complete. It is being used on patients since Saturday”.
The Hype and its aftermath
In addition, due to the hype of these ‘ventilators’, some state governments ordered them for future use. On May 20, the Chief Minister of Puducherry tweeted that he had cancelled the order of Dhaman-I.
On May 20 itself, the Gujarat Health Secretary defended the machine. He stated that a Gujarat Government Laboratory has certified the product. Finally, he stated that the product had fulfilled the parameters of the ventilator.
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