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FIGHTBACK: Indian Air Force steps up oxygen drive in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

FIGHTBACK: Indian Air Force steps up oxygen drive in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh

The Indian Air Force (IAF) on Sunday began the next round of providing oxygen to states worst hit be the second wave of Covid19, focusing on the highly impacted states of Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.

The Hindustan Times quoting senior military officials on Saturday said that the IAF’s transport aircraft had already ferried large oxygen containers to filling stations in different parts of the country, including Panagarh in West Bengal to Jamnagar in Gujarat.

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A C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft flew to Pune in Maharashtra and then to Gujarat’s Jamnagar carrying four oxygen container trucks, the daily reported. The IAF aircraft also flew empty oxygen containers from Hindon airbase and Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal to Jharkhand’s capital city of Ranchi.

In a bid to make oxygen the IAF has spread its wings beyond the Indian borders.

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In the early hours on Saturday, India's C-17 plane landed at Singapore's Changi Airport. The plane, the transport workhorse of the Indian Air Force (IAF) was on an unusual mission. With Covid second wave mauling India badly, the aircraft was participating in a mammoth global scramble to bring in oxygen home from wherever it is available, to patients gasping for breath. India Narrative had earlier reported. Containers of cryogenic oxygen tanks were loaded on the plane ahead of its flight back home. India's Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was coordinating this gigantic effort mounted by the IAF to counter the second coming of Covid in the country.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday had also reviewed the efforts of the Ministry of Defence and the three Services to fight the current crisis through a video conference.

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Apart from applauding the IAF’s frontline role he pointed out that Indian Navy ships too have been put on standby for any assistance in moving oxygen tankers.

In Gujarat, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has completed setting up of a 1,000-bed hospital. Work is also going on in full swing to establish a Covid facility in Lucknow that would become operational in the next 5-6 days. These hospitals would be run by army doctors in coordination and with assistance from local state governments.

Senior officials of MoD are in constant touch with the officials of state governments for necessary coordination. As doctors from the armed forces are already overburdened, services of local doctors and health professionals might be enlisted for the 750-bed hospital that is coming up at Varanasi. To augment the work force of health professionals, Singh has approved a suggestion to deploy those who have recently retired from the Armed Force Medical Services (AFMS).