Precautions being taken to safeguard troops from coronavirus: Army to Par panel

New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) The Army, which is running coronavirus quarantine facilities, has told a parliamentary panel that all necessary steps are being taken to safeguard the troops from the infection, including examining all meat products supplied to them.

In its response to the Standing Committee on Defence, the Army said most of the meat products used by the troops were frozen.

It also told the panel about steps such as setting up quarantine facilities in Manesar and Jaisalmer for civilians to contain the spread of the virus.

So far, the Army has established such facilities in Suratgadh, Deolali, Jodhpur, Kolkata and Chennai. Most of the Indians brought back from coronavirus-hit countries are kept at the quarantine facilities maintained by the Army.

'We are inspecting all meat products but we have not come across any such case,' the Army told the panel, adding that it was holding regular meetings with officials of the health ministry.

The panel submitted its report to the Lok Sabha on Friday.

'The frozen meat products and whatever rations that have to be sent to the border posts have already been stocked. We have checked all meat products. We will follow all the directions given to us by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The PMO is also monitoring the situation,' the Army told the panel headed by BJP MP Jual Oram.

It also told the panel that it had instructed its personnel in the Indian embassy in China, where the coronavirus is believed to have originated, to take necessary precautions.

'The committee was assured by the representatives of the Ministry of Defence that all necessary precautions to safeguard our troops from the virus are being taken. Since the virus can spread to animals also, all meat products for supply to soldiers are properly being examined,' the panel observed.

In another response to the panel as regards the Indigenous Aircraft Carrier-1 (IAC-1), the Navy indicated that it was likely to berth it at a private shipyard.   'The case for leasing of the 260 m berth at M/s L&T Shipyard, Kattupalli for a period of eight years (2022-2030) for interim berthing of IAC 1 on the East Coast has been taken up with MoD.

'The total financial implications for leasing the berth, along with ready-to-use infrastructure, are Rs 30.48 crore per year plus Rs 48 crore refundable deposit. The case is being progressed for an early approval of MoD,' the Navy said. PTI PR RC