(This was originally posted in India Today by Abhishek Bhalla)
The Centre is planning to rope in the Indian Air Force (IAF) for flying in containers and equipment from abroad that can be used for carrying oxygen. This will augment the supply of oxygen in the country to deal with the Covid-19 crisis. The second wave of the Covid-19 has left infected patients gasping for breath as hospitals across the country continue to face an acute shortage of medical oxygen.
Government sources privy to the development said planning for the same is on and there should be more clarity on it soon. Oxygen is available in the country, but transportation is a problem due to an acute deficiency of containers required to carry it, sources said. The IAF has already been pressed into action within the country for Covid-19 relief operations. The Indian Air Force has now started airlifting oxygen containers, cylinders, essential medicine, equipment, and medical personnel to assist the government in combating the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to Air Force officials, the IAF has also airlifted doctors and nursing staff from Kochi, Mumbai, Vizag, and Bengaluru for the establishment of a Defence Development Research Organisation (DRDO) Covid-19 makeshift hospital in Delhi. “The air force has also airlifted oxygen containers of DRDO from Bangalore for Covid-19 centers in Delhi,” said an official.
Officials said these operations will continue as per the requirements. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh directed all defence establishments on Tuesday to ramp up efforts and assist civil authorities in extending all possible assistance to people across the country.