Reliance sets up India's first dedicated COVID-19 hospital, to pay contract workers’ wages
New Delhi: Reliance Industries on Monday said it will pay contract and temporary workers’ wages even in case of no work due to coronavirus outbreak, set up India's first dedicated COVID-19 hospital in Mumbai, ramp up face-mask production capacity and provide free meals and fuel to deal with the crisis.
In a raft of measures to deal with the pandemic, India's largest company in a statement said it has "initiated a multi-pronged prevention, mitigation, and ongoing support strategy" which can be ramped up further to scale as required.
Detailing the measures, the oil-to-telecom conglomerate said it has set up "India's first dedicated COVID-19 hospital".
In a short time-span of just two weeks, Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has set up a dedicated 100-bedded centre at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai for patients who test positive for COVID-19.
"This first-of-its-kind-in-India centre is fully funded by Reliance Foundation and includes a negative pressure room that helps in preventing cross-contamination and helps control infection. All beds are equipped with the required infrastructure, biomedical equipment such as ventilators, pacemakers, dialysis machine and patient monitoring devices," it said.
Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in Mumbai has also offered to set up special medical facilities to quarantine travellers from notified countries and suspected cases identified through contact tracing. "This will quickly augment additional facilities for isolation and treatment of infected patients."
Reliance has built a fully equipped isolation facility in Lodhivali, Maharashtra and handed it over to the district authorities even as Reliance Life Sciences is importing additional test kits and consumables for effective testing.
"Our doctors and researchers are also working overtime to find a cure for this deadly virus," the statement said.
With over 500 cases of the coronavirus and eight deaths, India is under lockdown to check the spread of the virus. India Inc has joined the government effort to deal with the crisis.
Reliance said it is raising its production capacities to produce 100,000 face masks per day and a large number of personal protective equipment (PPEs), such as suits and garments, for the health-workers to equip them further to fight the coronavirus challenge.
"Reliance will provide free fuel for all emergency service vehicles used to transport Covid-19 patients and quarantined people," it said.
In addition, Reliance Foundation will provide free meals to people across various cities in partnership with NGOs to those whose livelihood has been impacted by the current crisis.
The firm said it "will continue to pay contract and temporary workers, even if work has halted due to this crisis”.
For its employees earning below Rs 30,000 per month, salaries will be paid twice a month to protect their cashflow, the statement said. "Reliance has moved most of its employees to its Work-From-Home platform except for those who are manning critical roles in maintaining the Jio (telecom) network for nearly 40 crore customers and for providing an uninterrupted supply of fuel, groceries and other essential items of daily consumption."
On its retail business, the company said: "All the 736 grocery stores of Reliance Retail across the country will ensure sufficient supply of essentials, including staples, fruits and vegetables, bread, breakfast cereals and other items of daily use so that citizens need not stock up."
"Grocery stores to open longer - from 7 am to 11 pm - wherever possible," it said adding the firm is activating ordering from home and delivery for senior citizens as well as activating order and pick-up from storefront so that the consumers and store staff are not exposed.
Reliance Retail will ply vehicles with essential items in certain areas for sale to customers at their doorsteps during the complete lockdown, the statement said, adding the firm's petrol pumps will remain open to customers to ensure there is no shortage of fuel.
All store staff are adequately trained and protected with masks and follow a strict hygiene regime, it added.
To enable India remains connected during the lockdown, Reliance's telecom arm, Jio is combining its digital capabilities with Microsoft Teams, the unified communication and collaboration hub for teamwork in Office 365, to enable individuals, students, educational and healthcare institutions to continue their professional lives while still practising social distancing.
Its broadband service, JioFiber will provide 10 Mbps of connectivity, wherever geographically feasible, without any service charges, for the lockdown period. "Jio will also provide home gateway routers with a minimum refundable deposit."
"Jio will provide double-data across its 4G data add-on vouchers. It will also bundle non-Jio voice calling minutes in these vouchers at no additional cost, to meet the increased need for these services," the statement added.
With PTI Inputs
Last Updated 24, Mar 2020, 11:54 AM