Defence PSUs, OFB join fight against COVID-19

Panchanan Mishra
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh interacted with the heads of Defence Public Sector Units and Ordnance Factory Board via video conferencing  (Screengrab)

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh interacted with the heads of Defence Public Sector Units and Ordnance Factory Board via video conferencing (Screengrab)

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today reviewed the contribution of the Defence Public Sector Undertaking Units (DPSUs) and the Ordinance Factory Board (OFB) in India’s fight against COVID-19.

Interacting with the participants through video conference, Rajnath Singh directed them to prepare contingency plans to ramp up production once the nationwide lockdown is lifted so as to compensate for lost time.

The Defence Minister also appreciated the innovative products that various DPSUs have come up within combating COVID-19 and also the manner in which they have assisted the local administration.

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans to revive the economy post-lock down, Rajnath Singh said DPSUs along with private defence industry could play a major role in the economic revival.

In recent weeks, Ordinance Factory Board units have contributed to the COVID 19 fight in many ways. They have repaired over 100 ventilators, manufactured 12,800 coveralls, developed special machines to test Personal Protective Equipment, supplied 6.35 lakh masks to local authorities, supplied 340 specialised tents to Arunachal Pradesh for COVID 19 patients and distributed nearly 1 lakh litres of hand sanitizer.

The OFB has also set aside 280 isolation beds at its hospitals in 10 locations.

Among DPSUs, HAL has earmarked 93 isolation beds in Bangalore for COVID-19 patients, while Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) has made arrangements to manufacture 12,000 ventilators in May and 18,000 more in June. Around 3,000 engineers will take part in training health professionals in operationalising these ventilators.

Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has manufactured and supplied 300 aerosol cabinets to hospitals. Besides assisting migrant labourers, it has also distributed 56,000 masks. In addition, HAL has also earmarked 93 isolation beds in Bangalore for COVID-19 patients. HAL has reported that no positive COVID-19 cases have been recorded among its employees.

Another DPSU, Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) is working with eminent scientists to finalise prototype for ventilators.

The Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) has provided PPE and medicines worth Rs 5 lakh to the Naval Quarantine Centre, Mumbai and distributed 4,000 litres of sanitiser.

Several Units of OFB and DPSUs located in non-red zones have already started operations.

In order to increase production once the lockdown ends, almost all of them have made contingency plans that include working three shifts and extending workdays from five to six days a week.