There is no dearth of funds for handling COVID-19, says Minister Anand Singh

The Hindu | May 11, 2021

Ballari district administration to use funds available under District Mineral Foundation to expand health infrastructure

Pointing to the funds available under District Mineral Foundation (DMF) lying with the district administration in Ballari, Minister for Infrastructure Development, Haj and Wakf and district in-charge B.S. Anand Singh has said that there is no dearth of funds for tackling COVID-19.

The administration had, a few weeks ago, resolved to use funds under the DMF, which has accumulated from the contributions of mining companies and are originally meant for taking up development and rehabilitation activities in mining-affected areas, for COVID-19 containment activities, including the expansion of healthcare facilities in the district.
“The district has a large sum of DMF funds and there is no need for the district administration to seek money from the government for handling COVID-19. We will use these funds to take up extensive pandemic containment activities. Saving people’s lives is our first priority. We will positively take suggestions from all people’s representatives for controlling the pandemic and incorporate them in our plans,” Mr. Singh said.

He was addressing a review meeting at a conference hall on PDAA Football Grounds in Ballari on Monday.
Anticipating a third wave of the pandemic, Mr. Singh said that the administration is already making all preparations to face the situation by expanding medical infrastructure not just at the district headquarters but also in the taluk centres.
“We have decided to provide each one of the taluk hospitals with 10 ventilators and 10 dura cylinders. As many as 40 ventilators sent by the State government have already reached Ballari. We are in the process of expanding and upgrading the existing medical facilities by increasing bed capacity, appointing additional health staff, including doctors and nurses, and procuring other required equipment. In addition to 109 ambulances working in the district, we have planned to purchase more ambulances. We will shortly establish VRDL laboratories at Hosapete and Huvina Hadagali. Oxygen plants would be set up in the taluk hospitals. The funds under DMF would be used for the purpose,” Mr. Singh said.
The establishment of a temporary hospital with 1,000 beds with oxygen, including 40 Intensive Care Unit beds, Mr. Singh added, is being taken up at Toranagal with assistance from JSW Steel.

“Work has been put on the fast track. A public notice has been issued expressing interest in recruiting the required staff — doctors, staff nurses, laboratory technicians and others. The hospital is expected to be functional shortly,” Mr. Singh said.
Referring to the increased number of COVID-19 deaths in the district as compared to other districts, Deputy Commissioner Pavan Kumar Malapat told the meeting that patients with respiratory problems being rushed to hospitals in an advanced stage is the major reason for the increasing deaths. On vaccination, the officer said that of the 6,01,191 people in the 45-59 age group, 3,22,879 have taken the first dose and 31,573 have taken the second dose. Of the targeted 1,74,345 people aged above 60, 1,37,546 have taken the first dose and 33,733 have taken the second dose, Mr. Malapati added.
Social Welfare Minister B. Sriramulu, Lok Sabha member Karadi Sanganna and others were present.