New Delhi, April 20 : Setting up of more Covid hospitals, using emergency powers and bringing in retired personnel are some of the measures discussed during a preparedness review meeting led by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday.
The Indian government has roped in the armed forces to tackle the surging Covid cases in the country.
A roadmap on how military infrastructure can be used to ramp up the fight against Covid-19 was also discussed in the meeting.
A senior Defence Ministry official said that a structured dialogue with all the stakeholders took place at the meeting.
Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar; Chief of Defence Staff General Bipin Rawat; Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh; Army chief General M.M.Naravane; Director General Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS), Vice Admiral Rajat Datta; Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar; Chairman, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), G Satheesh Reddy and other senior civil and military officials attended the meeting via video conferencing.
The DRDO has set up a Covid hospital in Delhi with 250 beds, and the capacity will be increased to 500 and then to 1,000 if required.
Rajnath Singh instructed the concerned officials to set up more fully functional Covid hospitals in Lucknow, Patna, Varanasi and Ahmedabad within 8-10 days and also at other places where they are required.
The Defence Minister was informed by the DRDO Chairman that a Covid facility developed by 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.He added that work is on at a war footing to set up a 450-bed hospital in Lucknow, 750-bed hospital in Varanasi and a 900-bed hospital in Ahmedabad.
There was a discussion on roping in retired military doctors and nursing staff for assistance if they can volunteer.
The minister also 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.
During the meeting, Singh also discussed ways to contain the spread of Covid-19 among the armed forces personnel and the officers and staff working in the ministry.
He focused on Covid appropriate behaviour at the work place, stressing on the need to strictly follow all the Covid protocols such as wearing masks at all times and maintaining physical distancing.
Singh was briefed about the measures taken by the Armed Forces Medical Services, DRDO, Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) and other departments of the Ministry of Defence such as National Cadet Corps (NCC) in providing aid to the civil administration in this hour of crisis.