Centre Mulls Using IAF to Import Oxygen Containers Amid Shortage

The Army and the IAF are already engaged in several parts of the country as India battles a dire COVID-19 situation.

2 min read
IAF planes and personnel assisting in the transportation of medical equipment. 

The Central government is planning to engage the Indian Air Force (IAF) to airlift oxygen containers and equipment from other nations, as it deliberates importing the necessary to address the oxygen crisis in the country amid the raging second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Army and the Air Force are already engaged as India battles a dire COVID-19 situation in several parts of the country.

"The deliberations are still on," said a source, with regards to the import plans, adding that the places from where these containers and other equipment could be airlifted had been identified.

The source said that the problem India is facing in importing oxygen is transportation due to an acute shortage of containers to carry the life-saving gas. The government is in talks with all the stakeholders in this matter.

IAF, Army Pressed Into Action

With the second wave of COVID-19 hitting India hard, the Centre roped in the IAF to airlift oxygen cylinders, regulators, and essential medicines as the National Capital Region faces shortage of oxygen cylinders and medicines.

The IAF has started airlifting personnel, doctors and nursing personnel to help the government battle the pandemic.

Reports said that he IAF had airlifted doctors and nursing personnel from Kochi, Mumbai, Vizag and Bengaluru for setting up of a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) COVID hospital in Delhi.

The IAF has also airlifted oxygen containers from the DRDO in Bengaluru for the COVID centres in Delhi.

Further, NDTV reported that 10 Army doctors had been sent to the Gujarat University Convention Centre in Ahmedabad while four had been deployed at the ESI Hospital in Patna.

An Army team will also be deployed at a COVID isolation facility in Sagar, Madhya Pradesh.

On Tuesday, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh directed all the defence establishments to set up more COVID-19 hospitals, use emergency powers and bring in retired personnel to tackle the crisis.

The DRDO stated that it had 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.

(With inputs from IANS)

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