As the second wave of the pandemic has left the healthcare system in India in turmoil, an acute shortage of medical oxygen is being observed. As hospitals in the country scramble to find oxygen supplies, good samaritans and social organisations are organizing to help wherever possible to assist citizens with this cause. A Kolkata Gurdwara has started an ‘oxygen langar’ to help provide necessary cylinders to patients. Located in Kolkata, Gurdwara Behala’s drive was organized by IHA Foundation and the Gurdwara committee. The drive to provide oxygen cylinders started this initiative last Sunday. On Sunday itself, approximately 18 people had availed of this service.
“To get this service, people are required to bring an authorized doctor’s prescription recommending the need for oxygen, along with Aadhar card. The sewa is on a first-come-first-serve basis and it will cost nothing,” Satnam Singh Ahluwalia, general secretary of the Gurdwara Behala and chairman of IHA Foundation, told TOI.
According to the system put in place at the moment, once the patient arrives, doctors and medical support staff also check their oxygen levels and other critical levels.
Just last week, a Sikh Gurdwara in Ghaziabad-Indirapuram started “oxygen langar" to help patients out, by helping fill cylinders for free. The gurdwara’s “oxygen langar" for COVID-19 patients promises to supply oxygen in its premises to patients till the time they don’t find a bed for themselves in the hospital. They have also launched a helpline number for the people to call and book oxygen cylinder.
“We are not giving or refilling oxygen cylinders. We are asking people to come here to the Indirapuram Gurudwara along with the patient in their car and we will provide oxygen to them. Be it two, four or 8 hours, we will provide oxygen till the time the patient is not getting a bed in the hospital," says Gurpreet Singh, in a viral video informing people about the initiative.
In Noida’s Gautam Buddha Nagar too, a free, drive-thru ‘oxygen langar’ at a parking lot in Noida is literally breathing life into COVID patients with dangerously fluctuating oxygen levels. They are given assistance till such time as their families manage to arrange liquid oxygen or get a hospital bed on their own.