1000-bed DRDO facility near Delhi airport to be operational by next month
The facility is being readied by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is under the Ministry of Defence.Updated: Jun 27, 2020 07:36 IST
Wooden slabs were being laid out and the ground was being levelled with multiple machines set in motion at a large open field. The white makeshift tents, the roofs and the pillars being placed could be spotted right from the road near Mehram Nagar village in southwest Delhi, which goes up to the Delhi Airport’s domestic terminal.
Construction work is on in full swing at the site to turn the place into a full-fledged temporary air-conditioned 1,000-bedded Covid facility to meet the need for more beds to house Covid-19 patients in view of the rapid surge in cases. Till Friday, Delhi had recorded 77,240 cases of the disease.
The facility is being readied by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), which is under the Ministry of Defence. It has been roped in by the Union Home Ministry for the construction. The Directorate of Civil Works and Estates (DCW&E), a wing of the DRDO, is handling the construction. Officials said the hospital is likely to come up by early next month.
According to officials at the site, the facility is coming up on around 25,000 square metres of land belonging to the Indian Air Force. Besides, patients and doctors’ blocks, a testing lab and a pharmacy will come up. A mortuary is also being planned.
“The structure is coming up fast to meet the need for extra beds for Covid-19 patients. All services will be available within the premises, from testing of samples to accommodation for staff. There will be a patient block with four hut-shaped sections housing 250 beds each. In each of the huts, there will be around 120 cabins such that two patients can stay per cabin,” Gagan Wadhwa, chief construction engineer (CCE), DRDO said.
Of the four sections to house patients, one will be dedicated for ICU beds with oxygen support. The complete facility will be fully air-conditioned.
“The facility is being designed as per World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines for hospital care. Every bed will have oxygen support so that patients do not need to be shifted in case of a sudden drop in oxygen levels. Each section will have a set of toilets and bathrooms,” he said.
Authorities said they are working on logistics of shifting patients to the centre, and which hospital will be attached to the facility. Patients will be given charging points for mobile phones/laptops and storage units by their beds to keep their belongings.
Alongside the patients’ block, will be the doctors’ area where patients will be assessed, plus another area to house the medical staff.
“Two doctors will be on duty for assessment. A separate block with cabins and an attached set of toilets is being built to provide on-site accommodation to around 50 doctors and paramedic staff. A cafeteria will be set up for medical staff,” said another senior official on site, who did not wish to be named.
Authorities said they were working out provisions for food and other such services.
The doctors’ block will have a donning and doffing area for personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. There will be a three-metre corridor for the movement of medical and support staff in order to maintain physical distancing.
The DRDO has tied up with BSES for power supply and back-up while Delhi Jal Board will be provide water supply. “A separate waste disposal and sewage management system is being developed. We were able to get water and power connections in such a short time because of the support of the union home ministry,” Wadhwa said.
On Tuesday, union home minister Amit Shah had tweeted: “I would also like to inform the people of Delhi that a 1,000 bed full-fledged hospital with 250 ICU beds is being developed for Covid patients. DRDO and Tata Trust are building the facility. Armed forces personnel will man it. This Covid Care centre will be ready in next 10 days.”
The Covid facility is being built to augment hospital infrastructure in the national capital. The Centre is collaborating with the Delhi government to set up adequate number of beds to cater to patients after a spike in Covid-19 cases.
This will be the second such facility to be manned by armed personnel after the 10,000-bedded one at Chhattarpur Radha Soami Satsang Beas, where a large part of the facility is set to be operational from Friday and will be manned by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).