Kolkata: Coal India is calling back its retired doctors and paramedical staff to meet shortfall of such personnel for containing spread of Covid-19 pandemic at mines and nearby locations.

“This is an unprecedented situation and we are doing the best we could to keep away the virus spread in our mining areas at all costs. At the same time are also in a state of preparedness for any eventuality” said a Coal India executive.

Retired doctors are being recruited on honorarium basis to meet any exigency. Their engagement would continue for two months with a provision of extension by one more month.

Coal mining can be hazardous at times leading to accidents and Coal India employs several doctors and paramedic staff across mining areas. Last year Coal India recruited some 500 doctors on its payroll.

To prevent spread of the disease, the company is in the process of organising 1,500 bed facilities and arranging isolated ICU beds for infected cases across its eight subsidiaries. It has also setting up additional quarantine facilities for potential patients.

In a few states’ subsidiaries are financing existing hospitals for setting up new COVID-19 treatment facilities. In Odisha, it has tied up with two local hospitals for financing cost of operation and for buying beds, medicines and ventilators. Personal protective gears, ventilators, adequate oxygen cylinders, are also being acquired on emergency basis.

Its chairman has given away 15-days salary and the company will be handing over Rs 220 crore to the centre for the purpose.

Coal India subsidiaries are also manufacturing hand sanitizers based on formula recommended by WHO from chemicals used for blasting.

“We are supplying them to our employees as well as to the local administration in case of shortage,” he said.

Under its corporate social responsibility initiatives, it has tied up with ISKCON, for distributing 3500 free food packets every day to migrant labour and destitute in Kolkata as well as distribution of raw food material to 12,000 families. This will continue till the end of the lock down period.

Till March end Coal India has also distributed 2.76 masks for employees as well as to local administration. While 2.23 Lakh masks are available at Coal India, procurement of over 3.3 Lakh masks is in the pipeline.

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