Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday held a meeting via video conferencing to review the efforts of Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces to aid the civilian administration in the fight against COVID-19 in the country.
During the review meeting, he was briefed that Indian Army has made available more than 720 beds for civilians in various states.
The Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat suggested that local military commands have to be actively engaged in assisting the civil administration.
Singh was briefed that the 500-bedded hospital being set up by DRDO in Lucknow which will start functioning in the next two or three days while another hospital is also being set up in Varanasi which will be completed by May 5.
Defence Reseach and Development Organization (DRDO) Chairman Dr G Satheesh Reddy said the first four out of 380 Oxygen PSA (Pressure Swing Adsorption) plants being manufactured under PM CARES fund will be deployed in hospitals in New Delhi by next week.
While transport aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out several sorties from Singapore, Bangkok, Dubai and within the country, Indian Navy dispatched four ships – two to Middle East and two to South East Asia – to transport filled oxygen containers to India.
Indian Air force Chief Air Marshall RKS Bhadauria informed that as on May 1, the IAF carried out 28 sorties from abroad, airlifting 47 oxygen containers with 830 MT of capacity, while from within the country it carried out 158 sorties, airlifting 109 containers with 2,271 MT capacity.
The Navy and the Air Force have also supplied nearly 500 portable oxygen cylinders from their stores to various civilian hospitals.
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. Another 250-bed hospital is being set up in Lucknow.
Singh was briefed that approximately 600 additional doctors are being mobilised through special measures such as calling to duty those who had retired in the last few years.