Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) outposts along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh have been provided with oxygen concentrators, even as the home ministry is examining a separate proposal to upgrade the ITBP sector hospital in Leh.
Taking advantage of the Centre’s procurement policy for oxygen concentrators during the second wave of Covid-19, the border outposts have been equipped with portable equipment to help jawans deal with the harsh conditions, said officials.
“The oxygen concentrators were sanctioned and procured by the Union government in large quantities during the second wave of Covid-19. At high altitudes, ITBP jawans require this portable equipment to sustain themselves for long hours. Such facilities already exist in camps across the border,” said a senior government official.
The ITBP, along with the Indian Army, maintains vigil along the 3,488-km China border, which runs along the states of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh, and the Union Territory of Ladakh.
A central committee recently allocated an oxygen plant sent by the French authorities to the ITBP sector hospital in Leh amid increasing Covid-19 cases. Officials said the ITBP has proposed to upgrade the hospital capacity to 50 beds from 20 beds with intensive care unit facilities. Besides the ITBP, the hospital may cater to the Central Industrial Security Force, which has been deployed since last year in Leh for security of the sensitive airport. Ladakh became a Union Territory in August 2019.
India has been trying to ramp up border security, with impetus on road construction and medical facilities. These developments precede the military stand-off between the Indian Army and the Chinese army that started in April last year.