Tirupur garment units ask govt to source PPEs locally, not from China

Topics Coronavirus | Lockdown

Domestic manufacturers have the potential to manufacture 4,000 PPE kits and over 100,000 masks every day at competitive prices
The Centre's decision to purchase 15 million Personal Protection Equipment (PPEs) kits (including gowns, masks, gloves and goggles) from China to meet the country's Covid-19 requirements comes at a time when the Indian textile firms has the capacity to produce the equipment within the country, feel textile manufacturers. 

The manufacturers in the textile hub of Tirupur say that India has the capacity to produce the required PPEs and it would have been better if the government had supported the industry to manufacture them instead of relying on China for the same. 

Domestic manufacturers have the potential to manufacture 4,000 PPE kits and over 100,000 masks every day at competitive prices, with a local manufacturing company in Tirupur offering a full suit and mask for Rs 198. In Tirupur alone there are around 100 companies that have started manufacturing masks.

Raja M Shanmugham, President, Tirupur Exporters Association said that instead of sourcing from China, all the PPE kits can be sourced from industrial clusters like Tirupur, which manufactures around Rs 50,000 crore worth of knitwear every year for export and domestic markets.

He noted while nearly 100 units were producing masks at present, with government support, PPEs could be manufactured at the garment factories in Tirupur. All these manufacturers needed in the form of government support included standard operating procedure, know-how, education and supply of fabric, said Shanmugham.

The move would also help the garment factories, which are sitting idle due to the lockdown across the country and in various global markets, he noted.

"These can be manufactured faster in centres like Tirppur. Why is the government neglecting this bigger opportunity," questioned Shanmugham.

Concerns have been raised about the availability of PPEs with the number of Covid-19 cases rising in the country going up in the last few weeks. While the government has decided to procure PPEs for government hospitals, the private sector is finding it difficult to procure these kits, which cost around Rs 800-1000 per piece. The doctors and nurses dealing directly with the Covid-19 patients need to change kits often in a day. Moreover, the lab technicians who carry out tests also require PPEs, nearly one per sample, according to industry sources.

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