Turning the Coronavirus crisis into an opportunity, Punjab apparel industry are set to fulfill the shortage of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits for the fight against Covid-19 by fast making changes in their units to create capacity for manufacturing the much needed protective gear worn by health and sanitation professionals to minimize exposure to the deadly infection.

As many as 58 PPE suit manufacturers in Punjab, 54 of which are based in the leading textile hub Ludhiana,  have obtained certification from South India Textiles Research Association (SITRA) or  Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

As these 58 manufacturers already have orders for lakhs of PPE kits and their existing capacity is more than the requirement in India,   Punjab industries minister Sunder Sham Arora has urged Union minister of commerce and industry Piyush Goyal to consider allowing its exports to other countries in need.

In his letter to the Union minister, Arora highlighted stupendous role played by state industry in coming forward and manufacturing PPEs considered most vital in fight against deadly virus in bulk, and are now in a position to export these quality products to foreign countries on order.
He said 58 PPE suit manufacturers in Punjab have obtained certification from SITRO or DRDO, and are ready to start processing orders for PPEs.

“In view of the capacity of above mentioned manufacturers to produce PPE suits and quality of the products, I shall be grateful if you kindly consider allowing export of PPE suits from India,” the minister wrote.

As there was shortage of PPEs in the country and abroad, the apparel industry in Punjab wasted little time in shifting to the business and getting due clearances for their samples from the testing agencies. Though initially their samples failed to get the approval,  improving their fabric quality, stitching and taping requirements helped in getting the due approvals from SITRA and DRDO.

The Centre intends to procure two crore PPE kits from the country’s apparel industry but banned PPE exports as there was shortage of the same within the country. But as the PPE kit manufacturing capacity has gone up much above the domestic demand, apparel industry is hoping for the Centre to allow export of PPEs which will help them get business in the international market currently dominated by China, Bangladesh and Vietnam.