New Delhi: The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has deployed all of its required strength in the fight against the deadly coronavirus generated COVID-19 pandemic. The Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB) of the Ministry of Defence have been pitched in to shore up the national fight. OFB and HAL have been given the responsibility of creating isolation wards and beds in big numbers and factories of the board are manufacturing sanitisers. BEL will manufacture and supply 30,000 ventilators for ICUs within the next two months and protective gears like headgear, coverall and masks are being manufactured by factories of the OFB and DRDO.
The OFB has planned for 280 isolation beds across 10 hospitals spread over six states in the country. They are located at Vehicle Factory Jabalpur, Metal and Steel Factory Ishapore (West Bengal), Gun and Shell Factory Cossipore (West Bengal), Ammunition Factory Khadki (Maharashtra), Ordnance Factory Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh), Ordnance Factory Khamaria, Heavy Vehicle Factory Avadi (Tamil Nadu) and Ordnance Factory Medak (Telangana).
Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) Bengaluru has isolation ward facility with three beds in the Intensive Care Unit and 30 beds in the wards. In addition, a building having 30 rooms was readied. In all, 93 persons can be accommodated at HAL facility.
The OFB has manufactured and dispatched 50 specialised tents for COVID-19 patients to Government of Arunachal Pradesh at a short notice.
Development and production of hand sanitiser as per WHO standards have been undertaken in the factories of OFB. They have received a requirement of 13,000 litres from HLL Lifecare Limited (HLL), the nodal agency appointed by Government of India for centralised procurement. The first lot of 1,500 litres of sanitiser was sent on March 31 from Cordite Factory Aruvankadu (Tamil Nadu). Two more factories, namely Ordnance Factory (OF) Itarsi (Madhya Pradesh) and OF Bhandara (Maharashtra) are ready with bulk production. Together they have the capacity to produce 3000 litres of sanitiser per day to meet the national requirement.
Protective Equipment: Coverall and Masks
Ordnance Equipment Factories located at Kanpur, Shahjahanpur, Hazratpur (Firozabad) and Chennai are engaged in developing coverall and masks. They have also arranged special heat sealing machines for the manufacture of these garments at very short notice.
Factories Board requested Defence Research & Development Establishment, Gwalior and was successful in getting the first of samples of coveralls tested at Gwalior. Testing of masks will continue to be done at South India Textile Research Association (SITRA) in Coimbatore. The OFB is commencing shortly bulk production of coveralls up to 5,000 to 6,000 pieces per week. Three machines have been developed which have been approved by SITRA for testing the efficacy of coveralls and masks. These will be used in production to maintain the standards.
Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has stepped in at the request of Ministry of Defence and Ministry Health and Family Welfare to manufacture and supply 30,000 ventilators for ICUs within the next two months. The design of these ventilators was originally developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) which was improved upon by M/s Skanray, Mysore, with whom BEL has collaborated. Ordnance Factory, Medak has undertaken repair of ventilators in various hospitals in Hyderabad.