New Delhi (NVI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today asked the armed forces to help civil administration tackle the severe Covid-19 situation in the country and suggested to utilise the services of vaccinated retired personnel to assist the state governments in dealing with the crisis.
The Defence Minister today Singh held a virtual meeting to review the preparedness of Ministry of Defence and Armed Forces to deal with the recent spike in COVID-19 cases across the country, PIB’s Defence Wing said in an official statement.
During the virtual meeting, Rajnath Singh discussed ways to contain the spread of COVID-19 among the Armed Forces personnel and the officers/staff working in Ministry of Defence. He focused on COVID appropriate behavior at the work place, stressing on the need to strictly follow all the COVID protocols such as wearing of masks at all times and maintaining physical distancing.
The Defence Minister was briefed about the measures taken by AFMS, DRDO, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and other departments of Ministry of Defence such as National Cadet Corps (NCC) in providing aid to the civil administration in this hour of crisis.
He urged the DPSUs, OFB and DRDO to work on war footing to provide oxygen cylinders and extra beds to civil administration/state governments at the earliest. He called upon the Armed Forces to be in close contact with the state governments and be ready to provide any required assistance. The Raksha Mantri also delegated the emergency powers of procurement so that critical needs are procured, as per the official statement.
He was informed by DRDO Chairman that a COVID-19 facility, developed by DRDO, has again been made functional in New Delhi and efforts are being made to soon increase the number of beds from 250 to 500. He said, ESIC Hospital, which was converted to COVID hospital in Patna, has started functioning with 500 beds. He added that work is on war footing to set up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad.
Rajnath was also informed that based on the On-Board Oxygen Generation Technology developed for LCA Tejas, a 1000 litre/minute capacity oxygen generation plants technology has been given to the industry and the Uttar Pradesh government has placed order of five such plants with the industry.
Also present on the occasion, Chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation, Dr G Satheesh Reddy said that more plants can be supplied by the industry to cater to the hospital requirements. He further said SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) based supplemental oxygen delivery system developed for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas can be used for COVID patients as their conditions become similar. The product, he said, will be available soon in the market from the industry as per technology provided by DRDO.
Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Army Staff General MM Naravane, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Surg Vice Admiral Rajat Datta, Secretary (Defence Production) Shri Raj Kumar, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman Defence Research and Development Organisation Dr G Satheesh Reddy and other senior civil & military officers attended the meeting via video conferencing.