Syringe maker Hindustan Syringes and Medical Devices (HMD) has been asked to shut three of its four operational plants, including its 11-acre main plant in the Faridabad complex, following a directive by the Haryana Pollution Control Board. The development assumes significance in the light of the coronavirus vaccination drive which has gathered pace in the recent months.
The Haryana Pollution Control Board flagged the use of diesel generator sets in the plants and passed the order in a bid to curb the air pollution menace in the national capital and adjoining area. HMD told publications that it tried to allay concerns but did not succeed.
News publication The Telegraph stated that most factories run by medical equipment maker ran on environment-friendly piped natural gas. Only the smaller plants relied on diesel generators as a backup when the grid power wasn't available. The company added that instances of power-tripping were rare and factories largely run on grid power or piped natural gas.
The company contributes to about 66 per cent of the overall syringe supply in India for health and immunisation. The move has triggered a fear of a potential shortage of syringes and needles in the country. It is expected to impact the daily production of 150 lakh needles and 80 lakh syringes.
HMD has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking respite under the National Disaster Management Act to ensure uninterrupted operations of its plants. The company has also written to the Health Ministry seeking special consideration that is accorded to hospitals and health service providers.
The morning update by the Ministry of Health stated that about 7.64 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine were administered on Friday. The total vaccination coverage exceeded 131.99 crore till 7 am on Saturday as India reported 7,992 new cases of coronavirus. Active caseload is now at a 559-day low at 93,277.