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Shocked with His Own Covid Bills, Surat Businessman Converts Office into Hospital for the Poor

Representative Image (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Representative Image (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

With public hospitals struggling to cope, Kadar Shaikh spent 20 days in a private clinic last month in Gujarat's Surat -- and was horrified by the bill.

A businessman who recovered from coronavirus has converted his office into an 85-bed facility to provide free treatment for the poor.

With public hospitals struggling to cope, Kadar Shaikh spent 20 days in a private clinic last month in Gujarat's Surat -- and was horrified by the bill.

"The cost of treatment at a private hospital was huge. How could poor people afford such treatment?," Mr Shaikh, a property developer, told AFP.

"So I decided to do something and contribute in the fight against the deadly virus."

Once back on his feet, Mr Shaikh secured approval from local authorities to convert his 30,000-square-feet (2,800-square-metre) office premises.

The government provides and pays for the staff, medical equipment and medicine, while Mr Shaikh bought the beds and bears the cost of bed linen and electricity.

Anyone can be admitted, he said, regardless of "caste, creed or religion".

The coronavirus epidemic is still raging in India, with the number of infections passing 15 lakhs on Wednesday, and almost 35,000 deaths.