Putting their education, talent and creativity to the best of their use amid COVID-19 pandemic, a team of engineers and innovators in Kashmir designed a low-cost ventilator on Wednesday at a laboratory of Islamic University of Science and Technology (IUST). Priced at not more than Rs 15,000, the innovative approach to combat the coronavirus is expected to be handed over to the medical experts at the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) in Srinagar for further evaluation. Also Read - Maharashtra Extends Lockdown Till June 1, Mandates Negative RT-PCR Report For Those Entering State

Initiated by the design and innovation centre that works under Dr Shahkar Nehvi of IUST, Awantipiora, the project was collaborated with engineers Dr Majid Hamid Koul and Dr Saad of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Srinagar while Dr Shabir Hassan working at Harvard Medical School in America too extended support as the project’s overseas mentor. Taking to his Twitter handle as soon as the prototype came to life, Shabir tweeted, “Proud of the team at IUST/NIT. A simple call between two friends finally resulted in a frugal ventilator made in Kashmir. Kudos to the team including @rahim_green , Profs. M. Siddiqui, S. Parvez, S. Nahvi, M. Koul, S. Fayaz, the wonderful team & @Raheelk More to come! (sic).” Also Read - Kiren Rijiju Announces Rs 5 Lakh Each For Bereaved Families of Hockey Stars

Amid the ongoing pandemic, there is a shortage of ventilators across the world. In an effort to boost the availability of ventilators, face masks, personal protection equipment and COVID-19 test kits, the Central government removed customs duty and health cess on these products last week in the country. At present, there is 10 per cent duty on ventilators and test kits and 7.5 per cent on face and surgical masks while duty ranges from 7.5 per cent to 10 per cent on PPE. Health cess is flat 5 per cent on all these goods.

In the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the country had already restricted the export of diagnostic kits to discourage outbound shipments. Moreover, the Centre had also banned the export of all kinds of ventilators, sanitisers, and textile raw materials for masks and coveralls. To prevent the spread of coronavirus in the country, the Centre earlier granted Rs 15,000 crore for ‘India COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health System Preparedness Package.’ The fund will also be used for rapidly ramping up the number of corona testing facilities, personal protective equipment (PPE), isolation beds, ICU beds, ventilators, and other essential equipment.