Solar power usage is not new for storing vaccines in India. However, the push for this source of energy has increased after the coronavirus outbreak. More than 29,000 cold chain storage facilities across India are used to store covid-19 and other vaccines. To cater to India’s urgent demand for covid-19 vaccine storage, the government reached out to Godrej Appliances, which recently came up with an indigenous solar-powered vaccine cold-chain solution. Kamal Nandi, business head and executive vice-president, Godrej Appliances, spoke with Mint about how the company is supplying medical equipment and freezers to state depots at several locations, which then are commissioned at government hospitals and health centres for the covid-19 immunization programme. Edited excerpts from the interview:
How many states have shown interest in the solar-powered freezer for covid-19 vaccines?
Almost all states in the northeast, parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat, Tehri and the region above it in Uttarakhand, and the Bramhaputra belt, need solar-powered installations…Our installations are designed to withstand cyclonic wind forces and are ideal for the regions mentioned above.
How many orders have the central government placed for freezers, especially after the pandemic?
So far, we have received orders for more than 20,000 units from the central and state governments, comprising both our medical refrigerators and freezers.
How much has the company invested in medical refrigerators after covid-19?
We ramped up our production of medical refrigerators last year by 300% and are looking at ways to increase supplies. We have developed multiple sets of tools, fixtures, and other infrastructure, such as an additional conveyor line. Our Shirwal plant had an installed capacity of 10,000 medical refrigerators per annum, which has now been increased to 35,000 units per annum. The plant at Mohali has an installed capacity to manufacture up to 50,000 medical deep-freezers per annum.
What was the situation with respect to medical freezers before you developed these products?
Godrej forayed into the precision medical cooling space five years ago. As of now, we are the only Indian manufacturer whose products meet the stiff World Health Organization (WHO) performance, quality and safety (PQS) standards. Almost all the goods meeting PQS norms were imported earlier. Godrej has been able to not just ensure quality certification but also has built-in features required in our country, such as high holdover of up to 10 days even during power outages and inbuilt power stabilizer, which are suited for Indian climate.
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