New Delhi: The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry has issued a clarification stating that it had never complained against either the Centre or the State governments for not utilising ventilators while the country is battling with the second COVID wave.
In a statement, the FICCI said that some media tried to distort sections of a letter it had sent to the National Disaster Management Authority in regards to ventilators that were manufactured with the PM Care Fund last year and have been lying unused at several government facilities.
The FICCI report had specifically stated that: "It has been observed that most of the 40,000 ventilators manufactured under the PM Care Fund last year have been lying unused at government facilities either due to shortage of intensivists ( specialist healthcare professionals) or due to lack of oxygen supply and consumables."
However, in its most recent statement, FICCI said that since the letter had been submitted on April 19, many governments had swung into action to make use of the resources and provide specialists to run them. The organisation also clarified that it had never pointed fingers at the Central or State governments for negligence, highlighting that it was optimal use of resources that was the priority.
Chronic shortages of ventilators and beds in hospitals are on the rise with reports of unused ventilators in places such as Punjab and Bihar.
"We received 32 ventilators under PM-Cares Fund, but we cannot use these until we make the college operational," said Dr Bhaveet Bharti, Principal of Dr B.R.Ambedkar State Institute of Medical Sciences, Mohali while speaking to Hindustan Times. "We are waiting for a team of the National Medical Council to visit for inspection, which was due in March. We will get a go-ahead only after inspection."
In April, the ruling BJP in the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) claimed that many of the ventilators given to Sassoon Hospital from the PM Cares Fund last year had stopped working as the state government-run hospital kept them unused for too long even during the pandemic.
A Dainik Bhaskar report on May 3 pointed out that as many as 100 ventilators in Jodhpur, Rajasthan were received under PMCares but not a single one had been out to use in the district, which also tops the state's list of highest death tolls. The report also alleged that out 18 ventilators installed in Jaipur's SMS Medical College had not been functional for 6 months.
The death toll in India crossed the 2.34 lakh mark on May 6, as many states grappled with an acute shortage of oxygen and beds for the steadily rising number of patients. India currently has approximately 2.15crore active cases of COVID-19.