After Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh created a clamour in the state amidst the burgeoning second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting that the ventilators procured through the PM CARES fund were not working — Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) and its engineers on Sunday exposed the Punjab government for its alleged blatant lies.
Times of India spoke to BEL engineers and they laid bare the truth, informing that the medical staff at the hospitals in Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala did not change the flow sensors and that other operating procedures of the machines were not followed, thereby rendering the machines useless.
“There are flow sensors connected with the patient’s ICU and then there are oxygen sensors. When our team went to Faridkot, we saw consumables were not replaced. It is mandatory to change the flow sensor each time a new patient comes to ICU,” said M V Gowtham, CMD, BEL whilst further adding, “Second, some ventilators were not calibrated along the latitude-longitude of Faridkot during installation. Whenever a ventilator changes location, oxygen pressure must be changed according to that location. Third, oxygen sensors have a shelf life. If you use it with a dozen patients with 100% oxygen, it will deteriorate, it won’t work. Oxygen sensors must be changed, which did not happen in Faridkot.”
TOI EXC:A check by engineers of Bharat Electronics Ltd(BEL) & assmnt by central team find states inc Punjab mismangd ventillator instaln,dumpd thm as non-functionl
1.Didnt change consumables:Flow & O2 sensors
2.Didnt recalib pressure acc to geographcl lochttps://t.co/6tlVrQ6Lgh
— Rohan Dua (@rohanduaTOI) May 16, 2021
According to an ANI report, after complaints were registered by the Punjab government led by Amarinder Singh, whose medical officers claimed that 237 of 320 ventilators were defective and non-functional in Amritsar, Faridkot and Patiala — the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had to come out to rubbish those claims.
“There have been some media reports suggesting that Government of India supplied ventilators (supported by PM CARES) to GGS Medical College and Hospital, Faridkot, Punjab are lying unused as a result of technical glitches which have not been resolved due to poor after-sales support by the manufacturers. These reports seem to be unfounded and not having the full information on the matter,” the ministry said.
“The lack of installation might be on various accounts, such as lack of trained and skilled manpower for using them, improper handling of devices…Ensure manpower given to utilise ventilators is sensitised, and undertake required training,” Joint Secretary, Dr Mandeep K Bhandari, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had written in a letter dated May 9 to all state chief secretaries.
The Centre has informed that 60,000 ventilators were placed for order in April 2020 and more than 49,960 have been allocated to the states, including 12,000 dispatched during the second wave. Some 50,000 from this were sent under PM CARES Fund. BEL was tasked to manufacture 30,000 ventilators
It has become a modus operandi amongst the opposition ruled states where the blame for the slightest of inconveniences is pinned on the centre. While the medical staff in Punjab was found at fault and bust wide open the pot of alleged lies of Amarinder — the recent oxygen audit case in Delhi similarly exposed the AAP government.
Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal, all through the past couple of months had continued to claim that Delhi needed 900 MT of oxygen but when the centre requested the SC to conduct an audit to gauge the real quantity of oxygen required, the AAP government became defensive and opposed the audit.
A few days later, Cabinet Minister Manish Sisodia out of the blue announced Delhi had excess oxygen and that the capital city was supplying it to the neighbouring states in need of it. Coincidence much that few days after the audit was announced, the oxygen scare in Delhi ceased to exist?
Similarly, Reported by TFI recently, an appalling development came to light from Congress-ruled Rajasthan, where life-support ventilators belonging to the PM CARES fund were allegedly being leased out by government hospitals to private institutes for exorbitant rates, all at the behest of the Ashok Gehlot government.
Reportedly, Bharatpur’s Rai Bahadur hospital had leased 20 of its ventilators provided by PM-CARES Fund to Jindal private hospital, citing ‘non-usage’ of the equipment. The development exposed the Ashok Gehlot-led government of Rajasthan, as it blatantly allowed the leasing of ventilators belonging to the central pool to private hospitals in the state.
The states have found the pandemic as the perfect excuse to target the centre. While the NDA government might have made its fair share of mistakes, it has never shied away from impartially helping the states, opposition ruled or its own. However, the petty political games played by the opposition parties continue to affect the lives of thousands of critical patients, battling the deadly virus.