M&M is trying its best to assist the government in its fight against COVID-19: Pawan Goenka
Corporate India must come out and assist the central government at this difficult time. I am happy to see the way corporate India is trying to do whatsoever it can do to help the government. Even Mahindra is trying to do what it can do at its end.
Pawan Goenka, Managing Director, Mahindra and Mahindra, talks about the efforts his company is making to assist the government in its fight against the coronavirus, COVID-19, epidemic, during an interview with Swati Khandelwal, Zee Business.
Q: Your company has started assisting the central government in its fight against coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic by manufacturing masks and ventilators which is not related to your sector. Can you update us on the kind of production your company is making at present and any plans to ramp up it?
A: Corporate India must come out and assist the central government at this difficult time. I am happy to see the way corporate India is trying to do whatsoever it can do to help the government. Even Mahindra is trying to do what it can do at its end. We received a call from the government saying there is a shortage of PPP, safety equipment and ventilators not only in India but across the world and if we can help it by doing something than it will be great. However, we didn’t have any prior experience in this domain but we are trying our best to help it.
The first work that we did was the production of the face shield, which is a simple device of plastic and is used by doctors and nurses to hide their face to ensure that the virus is not transmitted to their face and they remain safe. Its production was started some 10 days ago and we have been able to manufacture around 10,000 shields till date. They have been distributed and we have received positive feedback from the doctors’ community from across India like Assam, Delhi, Gujarat and Maharashtra among others. We are happy to assist our medical staffs by manufacturing this device.
The second thing is being done in collaboration with a start-up, Saral Design, which was engaged in manufacturing sanitary pads. They approached us. We used a machine to transfer their sanitary pads machines into a machine that can be used in manufacturing the face masks. Both works are being done at the Kandivali plant, located in suburbs of Mumbai. We have a capacity of manufacturing around 4,000-masks per day, which will be taken up to 10,000-masks per day by next week. At the same time, we are also trying to replicate these two things at other plants of Mahindra to increase its quantity as these two products are required in millions and millions of pieces in India, at present, and it can’t be fulfilled by a single plant of a company. We will also like to provide this technology/design to anyone interested in doing so.
The third thing we are doing is related to ventilators, which is very complex equipment in itself, and manufacturing it will require design, testing and approvals. In the process, we have mechanised and automated the Ambu bag so that it can be of help for doctors where ventilators are not available. The device has been manufactured and now it will be sent for approval and if approved then we can start its production in the next three-four days. This work will also be started at Kandivali plant. Many such devices are going through the testing phase and many companies are working on it. Ambu bag is a plastic bag that is used by nurses to pump air manually, and we are trying to automate the same to make sure that it can automatically pump air into the lungs of the patients.
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We are also trying to work on ventilators in collaboration with a company because India’s capacity for manufacturing ventilators is very low and they are available at high costs of around Rs5-10 lakhs. We are working with them to create a new design to bring its cost at around Rs 1.50 lakhs. Its prototype has been developed and the device is being tested and then it will be sent for approval. We can start designing it within a week after approval is granted. Apart from this, we are trying to provide meals and are providing around 7,000-8,000 kilogram meals in different locations of our plants spread across India. The food is being cooked at the kitchens of our canteens, which is later distributed among poor and those who don’t have any facility for the purpose. This facility is helping the community that resides around our plants. Apart from this, we are also offering our resorts for temporary care. Tech Mahindra is also trying to provide digital help that it can offer. So, we are trying our best during this difficult time and will try to do whatsoever we can do to assist the government and people.
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