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Defence Forces, OFB and DRDO join fight against COVID-19, says Rajnath Singh; Indian Army sets up special facilities

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The minister also discussed ways of containing the spread of COVID 19 among the Armed Forces personnel and the officers/staff working in the Ministry of Defence.
(Photos Credit: Ministry of Defence)

In view of the growing numbers of COVID positive cases, the Armed Forces, DPSUs, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) as well as Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) have been called in to provide assistance to the state governments. On Tuesday afternoon (April 20, 2021), Defence Minister Rajnath Singh urged them all to work on war footing and to provide oxygen cylinders and extra beds to both civil administration/state governments at the earliest.

To meet any critical needs, defence Minister Rajnath Singh during the virtual meeting delegated emergency powers of procurement too.

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Facilities providing aid to civil administration

DRDO has rebuilt a facility near Terminal 1, New Delhi with 250 beds and more beds will be added by Thursday taking the total number to 500.

ESIC Hospital, which was converted to COVID hospital in Patna, there are 500 functioning beds. And work goes on war footing for setting up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad.

The On-Board Oxygen Generation Technology which has been developed for the Light Combat Aircraft Tejas, a 1000 litre/minute capacity oxygen generation plants technology has been given to the industry. And, the government of Uttar Pradesh has placed order of 5 such plants with the industry.

Photos Credit: Ministry of Defence

And to cater to the hospital requirements, more plants can be supplied by the industry.

SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) based supplemental oxygen delivery system developed for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas, could be used for COVID patients as their conditions become similar. This will be available in the market soon as the DRDO is expected to transfer the technology to the private industry.

What did the defence minister say?

To deal with the current situation, according to the Ministry of Defence statement, issued on April 20, 2021, the defence minister suggested that the services of vaccinated retired Armed Forces personnel should be utilized to help the civil administration/state governments

The minister also discussed ways of containing the spread of COVID 19 among the Armed Forces personnel and the officers/staff working in the Ministry of Defence.

On Monday, (April 19, 2021) the defence minister in his meeting with the Indian Army Chief Gen MM Naravane and Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar and other stakeholders talked about the initiatives that could be taken to help the civil administration. There was discussion on using the designated military hospitals to be used with additional beds for the civilian population in this critical time.

According to reports, in coordination with the civil authorities, all the hospitals run by the 63 Cantonment Boards in the country have been asked to accommodate Cantonment residents and those who reach out for treatment.

Who was present at the meeting?

Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of Army Staff General M M Naravane, Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) Surg Vice Admiral Rajat Datta.

Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar, Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar, Secretary Department of Defence R&D and Chairman DRDO Dr G Satheesh Reddy and other senior civil & military officers also attended the meeting via video conferencing.

The minister in today’s meeting was briefed on the measures taken by AFMS, DRDO, DPSUs, Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and other departments of the Ministry of Defence like National Cadet Corps (NCC)which is helping in providing aid to the civil administration.

And, in the meantime …

The Indian Army on Tuesday has launched SeHAT OPD”, which is an online Triservice Teleconsultation Service, This according to the ADG PI tweet is functional for all serving personnel of the Indian Armed Forces, the Veterans and their dependents to provide healthcare. For consultations for their ailments, prescriptions for continuation of medications, etc., a web page has been set up to log in.

And to ensure better care facilities are provided to its veterans and the Indian Armed Forces personnel, the ADG PI office has also tweeted that the Base Hospital Delhi Cantt (BHDC) is being converted into an exclusive COVID Facility. This will become operational as the COVID Facility from April 22, 2021 onwards.

What does it mean?

It means that all OPDs will shift and function at Army Hospital Research and Referral (AHRR) from Thursday.

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