ARMED FORCES SUPPORT TO CIVIL ADMINISTRATION IN FIGHT AGAINST COVID-19

    10-Apr-2020   
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Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh reviewed through video conference the assistance being extended by various organisations of Ministry of Defence to fight COVID-19. The video conference was attended by the Raksha Rajya Mantri, Chief of Defence Staff, Chief of Naval Staff, Chief of Air Staff, Chief of Army Staff, Defence Secretary, Secretary (Defence Production), heads of Defence Public Sector Undertakings and other senior civil and military officials. Raksha Mantri appreciated the efforts being made by various Services, organisations and DPSUs and directed them to redouble their efforts and work in close coordination with other ministries/organisations of Central Government in this crucial time. Gist of support being provided by Ministry of Defence is summarised below.
 
 
 
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The Armed Forces have identified hospitals to exclusively deal with COVID-19 and more than 9,000 hospital beds have been made available. Over 8,500 doctors and support staff are available to extend necessary assistance to civilian administration. DG Armed Forces Medical Services has procured necessary equipment and dispatched them to various hospitals. Retired health professionals have also been kept in readiness to volunteer their services.
Six quarantine facilities run by the Armed Forces are currently operational at Manesar, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Chennai, Hindon and Mumbai. So far, a total of 1,463 people, including foreigners, evacuated from COVID-19 affected countries have been housed and observed at these centres. Of them, 1,073 persons are presently under quarantine and being provided proper care. These include evacuees from Iran, Italy, Japan and Malaysia, besides the IAF and medical crew. Three hundred ninety evacuees from China, Japan and IAF evacuation flight crew have been discharged following completion of their mandatory quarantine period. In addition to the active quarantine centres, more facilities have been readied and may be made operational within 48-72 hours, if needed. These facilities are at Kolkata, Visakhapatnam, Kochi, Dundigal near Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kanpur, Jaisalmer, Jorhat and Gorakhpur.
 
 
 
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Indian Army has code-named its anti COVID19 operations as ‘Operation Namaste’. The Army Chief has said that there would be no effect of the coronavirus outbreak on its operational preparedness. Indian Air Force aircraft have conducted several sorties within the country and in the last one week transported approximately 25 tonnes of medical supplies. Regular airlift of COVID test samples from the Union Territory of Ladakh to Delhi is also being carried. Towards this, C-17, C-130, An-32. AVRO & Dornier aircraft of IAF are being tasked on as required basis. Indian naval ships are on standby to extend any required assistance. A shipment of 60,000 face masks ordered by Indian Medical Association, Goa to offset the shortfall in Goa that was stuck at Delhi, were airlifted by an Ilyushin 38SD (IL-38), a Long Range Maritime Reconnaisence Aircraft of the Indian Navy, on March 27, 2020. 
 
 
 
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DRDO has supplied 50,000 litres of sanitisers, made by DRDO labs, to various security entities, including Delhi Police. Another one lakh litres have been supplied all over the country. It is making the five-layered nano technology face mask N99 on war footing. 10,000 have already been made and the per day production is being enhanced to 20,000. DRDO labs have also supplied 40,000 other face masks to Delhi Police. DRDO is also engaged in minor modification of ventilators so that one machine can support four patients at the same time. It has plans to produce around 5,000 ventilators in the first month and 10,000 subsequently through design transfer. Each ventilator unit will cost around Rs 4 lakh.  
 
 
 
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Ordnance Factory Board is engaged in manufacturing hand sanitisers, face masks and PPE. It has also earmarks 285 beds for COVID-19 isolation wards
 
 
Various DPSUs such as Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, Bharat Electronics Limited, Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, Bharat Dynamics Limited, Bharat Earth Movers Limited, Hindustan Shipyard Limited and Goa Shipyard Limited have contributed 40 crores of their corporate social responsibility funds to Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) fund. In addition, they have also contributed one day salary of all their employees to the PM-CARES fund.
 
 
A 14-member team of medical officers and paramedical staff of Army Medical Corps was sent to the Maldives for capacity building measures and assist in setting up their own testing, treatment and quarantine capacities. The team stayed in the Maldives for 10 days and returned back on March 23, 2020. Assistance to Nepal in the form of medical equipment is being delivered. Assistance for other countries would be provided as and when required.
MoD employees will be contributing one day salary to PM-CARES Fund; Rs 500 crore contribution expected. The employees’ contribution is voluntary and those desirous of opting out will be exempted.
 
 
 
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 The Border Roads Organsation personnel are working relentlessly to completely replace Daporijo bridge (430 feet Multi Span Bailey Brigde), the only lifeline of Upper Subansiri district, Arunachal Pradesh to restore Lines of Communication for all 451 villages and Security Forces located along the China border. It is also engaged in Snow clearance operations on Manali-Leh axis, day and night despite inclement weather and COVID-19 threat to provide relief to Lahaul Valley and Ladakh in an earlier time frame.