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Coronavirus | Be in close contact with States to provide them assistance: Rajnath Singh tells armed forces

Mr. Singh was briefed about the measures taken by AFMS, DRDO, DPSUs, OFB and other departments in providing aid to the civil administration.   | Photo Credit: twitter.com / @rajnathsingh

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday called upon the armed forces to be in close contact with the State governments and be ready to provide any required assistance. He also delegated emergency powers of procurement to ensure that critical needs are procured, the Defence Ministry said.

This was conveyed at the review meeting Mr. Singh held through video conference with the top officials of the Ministry, the Chief of Defence Staff and chiefs of Army and Navy, along with all Secretaries.

Separately, the Defence Ministry has also directed that cantonment general hospitals maintained by Cantonment Boards across the country extend all necessary medical assistance and service to patients approaching them for treatment, irrespective of whether they were Cantonment residents or not.

Oxygen cylinders

Mr. Singh was briefed about the measures taken by the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), Defence Research and Development organisation (DRDO), Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and other departments in providing aid to the civil administration.

“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,” a Defence Ministry statement said.

Mr. Singh was informed by G. Satheesh Reddy, Chairman, DRDO, that a COVID-19 facility set up by his organisation had once again been made functional in New Delhi and efforts were being made to increase the number of beds soon from 250 to 500. Dr. Reddy also said that ESIC Hospital in Patna, which was converted to COVID-19 hospital, had started functioning with 500 beds.

He told the meeting that work was proceeding on war footing to set up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and 900-bed hospital in Ahmadabad, the Ministry said.

Mr. Singh was also informed that based on the on-board oxygen generation technology developed for Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, a 1000 litre/minute capacity oxygen generation plants technology had been given to the industry and the Uttar Pradesh government had placed order of five such plants with the industry.

Dr. Reddy said more plants could be supplied by the industry to cater to hospital requirements. SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) based supplemental oxygen delivery system developed for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas could be used on COVID-19 patients as their conditions become similar.

The product would be available soon in the market from the industry, the Defence Ministry statement said.

“Medical services should be provided to all Cantt resident and non-resident patients in 67 Cantt board hospitals across India. The Defence Ministry reiterated the instructions in this regard to the Director General Defence Estates (DGDE),” Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar said on Twitter.

The Army announced that Base hospital in Delhi Cantt was being converted into an exclusive COVID-19 facility for the armed forces and veterans with effect from April 22, 2021. “All Out Patient Departments (OPD) will shift and function at Army Hospital Research and Referral with effect from April 22, 2021,” the Army said on Twitter.

Recruitment rallies put off

Due to the prevailing COVID-19 situation, all Army Recruitment Rallies in the Northeast had been postponed till May 31, 2021. Fresh date for the Common Entrance Exam, earlier scheduled for April 25, would be announced at an appropriate time, the Army said.

On Monday, the Army, based on a formal request from the Indian Railways, made available its critical rolling stocks for transportation of oxygen laden trucks to meet the requirement of oxygen for COVID-19 hospitals across the country. The first demand received was for 32 wagons, of which the first rake left by evening from Panvel in Mumbai for Visakhapatnam for filling oxygen.

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Printable version | May 7, 2021 7:29:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-rajnath-asks-armed-forces-to-extend-help-to-civil-administrations/article34364941.ece

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