Updated: May 1, 2021 9:19:52 pm
As the armed forces have requested that their recently retired medical personnel come forward to assist the civil administration in their regions and asked retired personnel to make themselves available for telemedicine, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a review meeting with the military top brass and other senior defence bureaucrats on the efforts to combat the pandemic.
DRDO said that four of its Oxygen Pressure Swing Adsorption (PSA) plants will be operational in Delhi by next week, as the capital continues to suffer from lack of oxygen in hospitals.
Singh was briefed that nearly 600 additional doctors are being mobilised through special measures such as calling to duty those who had retired in the last few years. The Navy has deployed 200 Battle Field Nursing Assistants to assist in various hospitals, he was told.
The National Cadet Corps (NCC) has deployed 300 cadets and staff at various locations in Maharashtra, Uttarakhand and Haryana, the Defence Ministry said in a statement. “A tele medicine service, to be operated by health veterans, will begin soon to provide consultation to those patients who remain at home”.
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The Army, it said, “has made available more than 720 beds for civilians in various states” and Singh asked the Army to “share the details with local administration at the state and district levels”. The local military commanders have also been asked to “actively engage in assisting the civil administration”.
Further, DRDO’s 500-bed hospital coming up in Lucknow will be operational in the coming 2-3 days, Singh was informed, while another hospital in Varanasi will be ready by May 5.
DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy said that “the first four out of 380 Oxygen PSA plants, being manufactured under PM Cares Fund, will be deployed in hospitals in New Delhi by next week”.
The statement mentioned that Singh “appreciated the logistics support being provided by the armed forces in transporting oxygen containers from abroad as well as within the country between places of consumption and production”.
The Air Force has carried out multiple sorties from Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and within the country, and the Navy has dispatched four ships, two each to Middle East and Southeast Asia, to transport filled oxygen containers to India.
In 28 sorties from abroad, the Air Force has brought 47 oxygen containers with 830 MT of capacity, while from within the country, it has carried out 158 sorties, airlifting 109 containers with 2,271 MT capacity.
The Navy has deployed seven ships for the Samudra Setu 2 operation “for shipment of liquid medical oxygen-filled cryogenic containers and associated medical equipment from various countries”.
“The Navy and the Air Force have also supplied nearly 500 portable oxygen cylinders from their stores to various civilian hospitals,” the statement mentioned.
Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) are procuring 28 oxygen plants and other medical equipment worth Rs 40 crore under CSR for supplying to various hospitals in states. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has set up a 250-bed hospital in Bengaluru, and another 250-bed hospital is being set up in Lucknow.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, the service chiefs and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar among other senior officers.
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