Ahmedabad: The Congress has alleged that the Gujarat government was playing with the lives of coronavirus patients to promote 'Dhaman-1' ventilators made by a firm `owned by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani's friend'.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party called the allegations levelled by the Congress on Thursday as baseless and said the opposition party was maligning the image of a local manufacturer.
On Wednesday, the Gujarat government had defended its decision to procure Dhaman-1 ventilators, claiming that they were as good as any other ventilator and certified by a centrally accredited laboratory.
Rajkot-based firm Jyoti CNC developed Dhaman-1 brand of ventilators and donated 866 of them to the government in April at a time when there was an acute shortage of these machines following
coronavirus outbreak, Principal Secretary, Health, Jayanti Ravi, told reporters on Wednesday.
But the state unit of the Congress alleged that owner of Jyoti CNC, Parakramsinh Jadeja, is Rupani's friend.
"Dhaman-1 is not a ventilator at all. It's just a mechanised ambu-bag to supply oxygen to the body. We are not against any company. But we firmly believe that these so-called ventilators were procured just to promote a company owned by the CM's friend," said Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi.
He asked the state government to disclose how many patients were put on Dhaman-1 support and how many of them died.
The controversy erupted when the Ahemedabad civil hospital, in a letter to the government, sought more advanced ventilators claiming that Dhaman-1 were not up to the mark.
The ruling BJP refuted the allegations saying even HAL Life Care, a central PSU, has placed an order to procure 5,000 Dhaman-1.
"We condemn Congress's attempt to malign the reputation of a local manufacturer and donor. Congress must clarify whether they are against the concept of `Vocal For Local'. This ventilator has received approval from three different testing entities," said Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya.