How equipment makers are helping India fight Covid
The second wave of Covid-19 has caught the country by shock. Till about a few months back, it appeared the pandemic was headed towards a closure, however, April took away any such hope. The spiraling Covid-19 cases in the country have compelled many companies to take effective measures to safeguard their employees’ well-being, and also the country at large.
Construction equipment companies like Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Sany India, Schwing Stetter, etc. have come forward and are helping fight Covid-19. L&T has immediately started working towards a long-term solution to meet the medical-grade oxygen demand in the country.
The second wave of Covid-19 has caught the country by shock. Till about a few months back, it appeared the pandemic was headed towards a closure, however, April took away any such hope. The spiraling Covid-19 cases in the country have compelled many companies to take effective measures to safeguard their employees’ well-being, and also the country at large. Construction equipment companies like Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Sany India, Schwing Stetter, etc. have come forward and are helping fight Covid-19. L&T has immediately started working towards a long-term solution to meet the medical-grade oxygen demand in the country. L&T has started delivering 22 oxygen generators to various hospitals in India, where the scarcity is most acute. These units will absorb air from the atmosphere before converting it into medical-grade oxygen and pumping it into pre-existing pipes in the hospitals.L&T CEO & MD, SN Subrahmanyan, said, “This is an unprecedented situation, and we are extremely pained by the consequences of the dire shortage of oxygen. Nothing could be more important than human life and L&T is committed to stand by the nation. Our teams in India and abroad have, with single-minded attention in the last few days, been able to procure the oxygen generators and other components to assemble PSA units. Together we shall all overcome the Covid-19 scourge.” Said Arvind K Garg, Executive Vice-President and Head-Construction & Mining Machinery Business, L&T, “As a company, we had undertaken path-breaking CSR initiatives last year – we contributed handsomely to relief funds, we ensured that our workmen were well provided for at our sites, despite the lockdown, we facilitated their return to work, helped the communities where we operate through local initiatives like distribution of food, masks, ventilators, etc. This year again, L&T has stepped in to support various government hospitals across the country by donating imported oxygen generators suitable for 100 -150 bedded hospitals. We have set up isolation units across the country for our employees. We are supporting the Prime Minister’s vaccination drive by setting up vaccination camps at our units. Various measures to support employees and their families affected by Covid have been implemented. This is in addition to the normal CSR activities with emphasis on healthcare and education, that the company undertakes, as a responsible and caring corporate citizen.” L&T is sourcing the components from various parts of the world. Once assembled at L&T’s Hazira manufacturing complex, each of parts will be compact, stand-alone oxygen-making units. The units work on the plug-and-play principle. Once all the constituent parts are fabricated, the compressor allows the air to reach a particular pressure within a few minutes. The generator then starts pumping oxygen into pipes. Each of the units has a capacity range from 1,000 litres per minute (LPM) to 500 LPM. A 1,000 LPM machine could service 100-plus beds simultaneously. The 500 LPM machine can potentially service 50-plus beds at any point of time. Another industry leader Sany India—in association with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) Foundation and CII Pune—donated three ventilators to Sassoon Hospital in Pune. Deepak Garg, Managing Director, Sany India & South Asia, said, “The consecutive days of record-breaking infections have posed an unprecedented threat to the healthcare system. Hospitals across the country are overwhelmed with infected patients and facing an acute shortage of medical supplies. We at Sany India are doing our bit in the spirit to battle the Covid-19 by donating the ventilators to Sassoon Hospital, which is relentlessly working on the ground to treat patients hit by the deadly virus.” Dheeraj Panda, Director, Sales, Marketing and Customer Support, Sany Heavy Industry India, “Along with business, it’s our utmost responsibility to give back to society in the time of grim situation. As part of CSR activity, Sany India has donated ventilators to Sassoon hospital. We have also donated 150 oxygen concentrators to another medical facility. Apart from this we had also donated one lakh N95 masks and five lakh three-ply masks to the Maharashtra Government.” Added Panda, “We have recently launched a Covid care helpline number for all their employees, dealers, dealer employees, contractual staff and workers along with their family members offering significant services that includes doctor consultation, medical prescription, assistance in securing bed, oxygen, plasma and ambulance services to name a few. Sany India has always been at the forefront of helping people and planning to take more initiatives in the battle against the pandemic.”Schwing Stetter India has converted a floor in one of its existing building of its factories – F75 unit in Sri Perumbadur into a Covid care centre. This facility will cater exclusively towards the company’s employees and their dependents. The center has been set up in compliance with the Tamil Nadu Government’s protocols for treatment facilities. Schwing Stetter has deployed three Covid duty medical officers who will be available at the hospital 24/7, six Covid duty staff nurses, two Covid duty ambulance drivers, five beds with oxygen supply, and 20 beds without oxygen supply. To provide overall well-being for patients admitted at this facility, Schwing Stetter will also organise a Yoga therapist and a psychiatrist/Counsellor will be available as well.“As we fight this relentless battle against Covid-19, it is in our best interests to ensure complete safety of our employees and their families. The idea behind converting our existing facility into a Covid hospital is to ensure that our people will have access to the right medical treatment to battle Covid immediately. This is, in our own way – rendering some support to the Tamil Nadu Government to curtail the spread of this virus,” said VG Sakthikumar, Managing Director, Schwing Stetter India. Said Rahul Shorey, National Head (Construction ), Tata Hitachi Construction Machinery, “Since its onset, Covid-19 has adversely impacted all strata of society, especially the underprivileged. As an organisation committed to larger societal obligations, we promptly diverted our efforts to meet the challenge. In this context, we undertook various Covid-specific CSR initiatives to provide relief to affected communities as well as augment the capabilities of local administration in their efforts to tackle the challenge both during the 1st wave of Covid-19 and during the ongoing second wave of the pandemic.” Added Shorey, “During the ongoing second wave of Covid-19, which has left medical infrastructure severely stressed across the country, we stepped forward to donate 100 beds to Karnataka Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS) Hospital, Hubli, Dharwad. We have also donated key medical equipment to the Public Health Centre (PHC) at Garag village in Dharwad, Karnataka and are in the process of providing life-saving biomedical equipment (such as ventilators, pulse oximeters, oxygen concentrators, ECG machines, etc.) to the office of the District Magistrate in Paschim Medinipur, West Bengal.” Tata Hitachi, through Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (ICEMA), is also monetarily supporting the CII Foundation in sourcing life-saving equipment during the ongoing Pandemic. “Even during the first wave of the pandemic, we had mobilised our resources towards several CSR initiatives including in-house assembly of face-shields and masks and their distribution to Dharwad District Hospital and to the Joint Director of District Industries Centre, Dharwad. We also distributed thermal scanners, three-ply masks, face-shields, sanitisers and hygiene kits to government functionaries, primary health centres and Covid health workers. In addition, we also ran drives in villages and rural communities around our areas of operations to directly provide them with sanitisers, Covid-19 hygiene kits, masks, family survival food kits comprising of one month’s dry ration, clothes for stranded labour as well as support to migrant labour in Bangalore in the form of food and dry rations,” said Shorey. In addition to its long-term CSR ongoing projects, BEML has also taken up following activities to combat Covid: the company is setting-up oxygen generating unit at Government general hospital, KGF, Kolar District at the approximate cost of Rs 1.10 crore, the company is also setting up mass production of oxygen generating unit through ToT with DEBEL, DRDO to cater to the rising needs of Covid patients. To mitigate the crisis and to make available proper medical facilities like bed, oxygen, etc.MV Rajasekhar, Chairman and Managing Director, BEML, “We not only under took many activities to fight the pandemic with the co-operation of all stake holders, but also extended support to the local public during this difficult situation. Various initiatives such as distribution of food, medicines, masks, food provisions etc. and massive awareness campaign were organised with the involvement of local authorities to demonstrate our commitment towards our employees and local public.” BEML has joined hands and contributed Rs 50 lakh for establishing 500 bed Covid hospital at Lucknow. The company has also chalked out catch-up recovery plans to overcome the production loss due to lockdown and to cope up with new normal. Last year, though at the initial stage, the sales and production were negligible due to various restrictions, BEML achieved its highest ever turnover during 2020-21. CNH Industrial has undertaken a host of preventive measures to combat Covid-19 including daily temperature checking, maintaining social distancing, compulsory registration on the Arogya Setu app, the provision of safety gear including masks, gloves and eye-protection along with daily regular sanitisation at all their facilities. A few of the initiatives undertaken by CNH Industrial are: Insurance for all the employees and their immediate families for Covid infection - A financial support of Rs 50,000 is provided to all those employees who are tested positive or are home quarantined. There is also a home care coverage of Rs 20,000 for all employees and their families per instance. CNH Industrial has forged a tie-up with Apollo Hospitals, which has set up a dedicated 24x7 medical consultation helpline number for employees. A dedicated task force has been put in place to track all infected employees and arrange all the required assistance from coordinating with the hospital to arranging for beds (both ICU and general), and procuring medicine, oxygen, etc. The company has worked with their global counterparts in China and Italy to proactively source oxygen concentrators to manage the current oxygen crunch in India. Employees are given the choice to work from home and have been asked to report on duty at offices/plants only when required. All government guidelines are completely adhered to by the company including 50 per cent attendance norms or any as per government directives. Heads of Departments are directly in touch with their employees on a daily basis and report any health-related issues with the employee and or their family directly to management. The company has deployed Covid Marshalls in factory premises to maintain social distancing amongst employees. Canteen facilities also follow the social distancing norms. Speaking on the steps taken, Raunak Varma, Country Manager, CNH Industrial India & SAARC, said, “At CNH Industrial, the health and safety of our employees come first and foremost. We have been proactive and have taken all precautionary measures for the mental and physical well-being of our workforce. We are monitoring the situation at our locations on a real time basis, to provide timely support to our employees in case of illness and hospitalisation.” In a programme titled ‘Escorts Covid Kavach’, Escorts in association with an insurance partner, will extend Covid aid up to Rs 150,000 in case of Covid-19 related hospitalisation and up to Rs 15, 000 to cover home treatment expenses. The aid is available to all customers who purchase any Escorts tractor effective May 25, 2021. The cost of this cover shall be borne by Escorts and its authorised dealers. In addition, Escorts has also launched a drive to encourage its dealers to conduct vaccination camps at their respective dealerships, in tie-up with local hospitals, covering its loyal customer base and their families.Speaking about the measures, Shenu Agarwal, Chief Executive Officer, Escorts Agri Machinery, said “Our country is going through some tough times. The farmers of our country have shown utmost courage and have worked hard during the pandemic ensuring all of us have food on our plates. It is our moral duty to reciprocate to the farming community with whatever we can do for their well-being. We hope our collective efforts will help our country soon overcome this crisis.” As India goes through a critical phase of Covid-19 infections, all such efforts by corporates are a welcome step to alleviate the lives of their employees and also take off some stress of the overburdened healthcare system. The need of the hour is for all institutions to come together and fight this crisis together.