Army offers medical staff to Punjab, says will revive defunct oxygen plants

Express News Service
CHANDIGARH: The Western Command of the Indian Army on Monday extended all possible help, including medical staff and medically-trained combatants, to Punjab to meet the exigent shortage in the hospital, along with support in reviving the defunct oxygen plants.

Lt-Gen RP Singh, GOC-in-C, Western Command, at a virtual meeting with CM Capt Amarinder Singh with senior Command officials, also offered to provide staff to run the 100-bed Covid facility proposed to be set up in the building loaned to the state government by CSIR for the purpose.

Met with GOC-in-C Western Command & @ADGPI Officials to seek their assistance in our fight against #Covid19. Thank them for their positive response to work closely with the State Government for both treatment of patients & management of logistics of Oxygen supply.

Lt-Gen RP Singh later said at another review meeting with top officials of the state government and medical experts that the government was also approaching the Union Home Ministry to provide manpower and ICU beds through the Border Security Force (BSF).

Technical and specialist cover will be provided by the Command Centre, Lt Gen Singh told Amarinder, adding that 15 trained nurses had already been sent to Patiala to support the civic staff. Further, experts will be sent to visit the defunct oxygen plants at existing industrial units to assess their status and extend whatever support needed for their restoration.

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Though their resources were stressed on account of requirements also from other states, including Delhi, Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir, the Army officials said they will extend all possible help to Punjab to tackle the situation, which the Chief Minister said was critical, with Ludhiana alone reporting 1,300 plus cases on Monday and oxygen allocation from the Centre currently at only 105 tonnes as against the demand of 300 tonnes daily. Of the 105 tonnes, the state was actually getting only 85 tonnes as the rest was being diverted to PGI Chandigarh.

In an internal review meeting later, the chief of the Western Command said the state government was making all efforts to secure medical oxygen to supplement its depleting stocks. The meeting was informed by Secretary Industries, Alok Shekhar, that Jalandhar and Amritsar had been facing a crisis situation on the Oxygen front for the past few days, which the state had somehow handled through judicious management.