New Delhi, April 20 (IANS) Amid the Covid-19 surge and shortage of oxygen cylinders across the country, the Indian defence industry has given On-Board Oxygen Generation Technology developed for Light Combat Aircraft Tejas to private industry, said Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
The Uttar Pradesh government has placed an order for five such oxygen generation plants, Singh said during a meeting to review preparedness with Defence Ministry officials, Armed Forces and defence organisations on Tuesday amid the spike in Covid-19 cases.
During the meeting, a roadmap on how military infrastructure could be used to ramp up the fight against Covid-19 was discussed. Singh also delegated the emergency powers of procurement to defence establishments so that critical needs are met expeditiously.
He urged the Ordnance Factory Board, Public Sector Undertakings, and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to work on a war footing to provide oxygen cylinders and extra beds to the local administrations.
The Defence Minister called upon the Armed Forces to be in close contact with the state governments and be ready to provide any required assistance.
He said SpO2 (Blood Oxygen Saturation) based supplemental oxygen delivery system developed for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas could be used for Covid-19 patients as their condition becomes similar.
The product, he said, would be available soon in the market as per the technology provided by DRDO.
The Defence Ministry also suggested to utilise the services of vaccinated retired Armed Forces personnel to assist the civil administration/state governments to deal with the current situation.
Singh also discussed ways to contain the spread of Covid-19 among the Armed Forces and the officers and staff working in the Defence Ministry.
He focused on Covid-appropriate behaviour at the workplace, stressing on the need to strictly follow all the Covid protocols such as wearing face masks at all times and maintaining social distancing.
Singh was briefed about the measures taken by the Armed Forces Medical Services, DRDO, Defence Public Sector Undertakings, Ordnance Factory Board and the National Cadet Corps in providing aid to the civil administration.
The Minister was informed by the DRDO Chairman that a Covid-19 facility developed by the 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 the ESIC Hospital, which was converted into a Covid hospital in Patna, has started functioning with 500 beds, adding that work is going on to set up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, a 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and a 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad.