Coronavirus: Ludhiana industrialist lends hi-tech machine that’s now disinfecting city 24×7

Written by Divya Goyal
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Updated: March 23, 2020 7:47:15 pm


Muncipal Corporation team fumigates Pakhowal Road in Ludhiana. (Express Photo by Gurmeet Singh)

A Ludhiana-based industrialist has come to the rescue of the civic body amid the COVID-19 outbreak by lending them an aero-blast spray machine which is now being used to disinfect the city.

Sukhpal Vir Singh Passi, owner of Jagatsukh Industries, handed over the ‘Charlie Tornado’, which is worth Rs 7.5 lakh, to the cash-strapped Ludhiana Municipal Corporation (LMC). The machine was originally meant to be supplied to a Uganda-based customer, but the industrialist lend it to the civic body instead and pushed back the customer’s order.

On Saturday night, the municipal corporation initiated a 24×7 fumigation drive. Residents were surprised to see the machine moving along city roads, spraying sodium hypochlorite mixed with water.

According to guidelines issued by the National Centre for Disease Control, a body under the Ministry of Health and Welfare, “For environmental cleaning during COVID-19 outbreak, test carried out using SARS-CoV showed that sodium hypochlorite is effective…”

Speaking to The Indian Express, Passi said, “It is an aero-blast spray machine generally used in orchards. This model, ‘Charlie Tornado’ has been modified by us for the municipal corporation. We export these machines to African and European countries. But seeing the need of the hour, it was more important to use it in our country first. It has a capacity of around 1,500 litres and covers 6-8 km an hour. Since Saturday night, it is working continuously on streets of Ludhiana and there hasn’t been any issue yet. We have told our customer in Uganda to wait as first it is important to do sewa at home. We haven’t charged anything for it.”

He further said, “There are fans installed at the back of machine which rotate and create a spray blast. As it moves on roads, it leaves a fountain of spray, so that the chemical reaches far and wide…Our Gurus taught us that we should do sewa in whatever way we can…”

Civic official Jasdev Singh Sekhon said that almost 6,000 litres of solution was sprayed in parts of Zone-A, from Phullanwal Chowk to Mata Rani Chowk, and on Sunday, the drive continued in Zone-D. “The plan is to cover the entire city by working 24×7 for 2-3 days. We have used this chemical only after research and several studies say it is effective against coronavirus. On Sunday, we sprayed nearly 15,000 litres of solution in Zone-D areas. More will be sprayed in coming days. It is a joint effort as Jagatsukh Industries donated the machine to us and we procured the chemical and tractor. Otherwise we didn’t have the equipment to cover the entire city in such a short time.”

Ludhiana Mayor Balkar Singh Sandhu said 200 small hand-held machines are also being procured for councilors to fumigate their own wards with this chemical.

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