Hind Syringes sees staff crunch hitting output, wants ‘unlock reversed’

Mumbai | Updated on May 03, 2021

Need to strengthen team by 3,200 people

“We are tripping,” says Rajiv Nath, Managing Director of Hindustan Syringes & Medical Devices (HMD), the country’s largest maker of auto-disable syringes.

The company needs to make one billion syringes by June, but faces a manpower crunch due to the surge in Covid-19 cases and the panchayat poll in Uttar Pradesh, besides the harvest and marriage seasons. HMD’s syringes are procured by the Centre and supplied to hospitals for general and vaccination purposes.

“I am 500 people short of my sanctioned strength and another 500 are down due to Covid and quarantines. This puts additional pressure on those working in 12-hour shifts,” Nath told BusinessLine. He needs to strengthen the team by 3,200 people.

Everyone is under tremendous stress, he says, urging the Centre for a “reversal of the unlock process, in a phased manner. If people know it’s happening in a week, they can plan for it and not panic.”

Production challenges

“We (in terms of production) are challenged. And every syringe counts,” he says, on the importance of achieving daily output targets. Two-thirds of the overall production (3 billion) are for India, he says, adding that he’s been turning down foreign orders. The ₹650-crore company is investing over ₹100 crore “from our own resources” for scaling-up production, he said.

Under the expanded vaccination programme, States, too, are reaching out to procure auto-disable syringes, but he is unable to oblige, he said..

Guns to soldiers

“Our role is akin to supplying guns to soldiers in the battleground... vaccines are the bullets,” he says, calling people from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan to work at its factories in the Faridabad industrial district (Haryana).

HMD also supplies syringes to the World Health Organization’s Covax programme that supplies AstraZeneca, Pfizer and other vaccines. In the last five months, there have been no fresh exports, he said.

Last December, HMD had dispatched 14 crore AD syringes to the Covax stockpile facility created in anticipation for supporting global worldwide vaccination drive.

Published on May 02, 2021

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