Updated: April 30, 2021 6:50:53 am
Army Chief General M M Naravane on Thursday briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the Army’s efforts in helping the country fight the pandemic.
The two “discussed various initiatives being taken by the Army to help in Covid management”, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.
According to the statement, Gen Naravane apprised Modi that “medical staff of the Army is being made available to various state governments”, and that the Army is “setting up temporary hospitals in various parts of the country”.
Gen Naravane also told the Prime Minister that the Army “is opening up its hospitals for civilians, wherever possible” and that “citizens can approach their nearest army hospitals”. The Army, he said, “is helping with manpower for imported Oxygen tankers and vehicles where specialised skills are required to manage them”.
Over the last few days Modi had met Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat and Air Force Chief Air Chief Marshal R K S Bhaduaria to review steps taken by the armed forces to battle the pandemic.
The Navy announced on Thursday that as the hospitals are overwhelmed, three of its hospitals under the Western Naval Command have kept certain oxygen beds for use by civilians.
In a statement, the Navy said that INHS Jeevanti, Goa; INHS Patanjali, Karwar; and INHS Sandhani, Mumbai “have kept ready a few COVID oxygen beds for use by the civil administration”.
In Mumbai, it said, “facilities have been set up inside naval premises to provide basic amenities so that migrant labourers are not compelled to proceed to their home towns” and naval authorities and civil administration are in touch and “all preparatory actions have been stepped up to offer any Covid contingency assistance, if requested”.
In Karwar, too, it said, there are similar “elaborate arrangements for supporting nearly 1,500 migrant labourers by supply of essential items, rations and basic healthcare” and INHS Patanjali, which was the first armed forces hospital to treat civilian Covid-19 patients last year, “is prepared to receive civilian COVID patients if there is any emergent requirement”.
The Navy said that its teams in Goa are prepared with community kitchens, and “in addition to earmarking some Covid oxygen beds for civilians at INHS Jeevanti” the Goan Naval Area’s headquarters “is exploring provision of oxygen to civil hospitals based on any requests received from the civil administration”.
In Gujarat, the Navy has offered support to the government for “transport of critical medical stores/ equipment to the Covid affected areas, setting up of community kitchens for the poor and other technical help as may be necessitated”.
It mentioned that the “feasibility of extending the vaccination facility to civil population in the vicinity is being explored”.
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