Avail services of ex-servicemen in dealing with coronavirus crisis: Rajnath to Governors

NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday spoke to almost all governors and conveyed to them to take services of the ex-servicemen in their respective states in dealing with the coronavirus crisis, people familiar with the development said.

In his conversation, Singh enquired from the governors about various aspects of the coronavirus pandemic in their states and urged them to take the state administrations into confidence in the fight against the pandemic, they said.

The defence minister also spoke to Lt Governors of a number of union territories and took stock of the coronavirus situation.

Singh has been monitoring assistance by the three armed forces to the civil administrations across the country to fight the pandemic.

Chhattisgarh governor Anusuiya Uikey’s office tweeted that the defence minister enquired about the status of coronavirus infection and vaccination in the state.

“He said that in view of the coronavirus situation in the state, services of ex-servicemen, nurses, lab technicians and ex-servicemen of the army residing in the state can be taken to deal with this crisis,” it said in a tweet.

The three services as well as other wings of the defence ministry have been extending support to various state governments and union territories in dealing with massive spike in coronavirus cases.

Since Friday, the Indian Air Force airlifted empty oxygen tankers and containers to various filling stations across the country to speed up the distribution of the much-needed medical oxygen in treating COVID-19 patients.

The IAF has also been transporting essential medicines as well as equipment required by the designated COVID-19 hospitals in various parts of the country.

On Tuesday, the defence minister approved hiring of additional contractual staff in 51 medical facilities being run under the ex-servicemen contributory health scheme (ECHS) across the country.

Last week, Singh said that the armed forces and the defence ministry will leave no stone unturned in providing all possible assistance to the civil administrations in dealing with the pandemic.

India has been reeling under a devastating wave of coronavirus infections and hospitals across the country are facing acute shortage of beds, medical oxygen and other supplies due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The US, Germany, France, Britain, Australia, Singapore, Israel and several other countries as well as the World Health Organisation and the European Union have already announced urgent medical assistance to India to help it deal with the situation.

The Indian Army said on Tuesday it is committed to give care and treatment for COVID-19 to its veterans and would like them to approach the nearest Army facility for any kind of assistance.

“The Indian Army is taking multiple steps to enhance its medical capacities on account of rise in COVID-19 cases amongst the veterans and their dependents,” its statement noted.

The base hospital at Delhi and service hospitals at all military stations are working tirelessly to accommodate maximum veterans, it said.

These hospitals are continuously ramping up their capacities to ensure that beds are available, the statement added.

Veterans affected by COVID-19 are being guided and assisted in getting medical advice and admission in various hospitals, it noted.

With 3,23,144 people testing positive for the coronavirus infection in a day, India’s total tally of COVID-19 cases has climbed to 1,76,36,307, while the national recovery rate has further dropped to 82.54 per cent, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Tuesday.

The death toll increased to 1,97,894 with 2,771 daily new fatalities, the data updated at 8 am showed.