With hospitals in Delhi scrambling to shore up oxygen supplies, good samaritans and social organisations across Delhi-NCR are giving a new lease of life to COVID-19 patients gasping for breath by opening "oxygen langar" for them and refilling cylinders for free.
Twenty-five of Sir Ganga Ram Hospital's "sickest" COVID-19 patients died in 24 hours and the lives of 60 more hung in precarious balance, officials said on Friday as the scramble for oxygen got more increasingly more frantic in hospitals across the national capital.
Inderjeet Singh Monty, president of Mayapuri Trading Association, said, "We have been helping hospitals and people with free oxygen supply from this Mayapuri plant for the past five days now. Every day over 500-600 people come here to get their oxygen cylinders refilled. Anyone in need of oxygen for a patient in their family can come and get the oxygen cylinder refilled here."
Brainchild of Abhishek Gupta, the plant's owner, the noble initiative is getting all sorts of support from the administration as well as the Delhi Police, which has helped them in supplying oxygen to several West Delhi private hospitals -- and in some cases to patients' homes as well.
The plant, with the refilling capacity of 1,500 oxygen cylinders per day, keeping in view the ongoing crisis is operating round-the-clock.
"The whole cost of this is borne out by Abhishek Gupta. He just told us to help manage the things on ground and see that people's demands are being met smoothly. He is not bothered about money and wants to help people in whatever way he can amid the worst health crisis that the city and whole nation has seen," said Monty, who is also a member of the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
Gupta, even after several attempts, could not be reached for the comment.
Also, rising up to the occasion in these challenging times is a gurudwara in Ghaziabad's Indirapuram. It has opened an "oxygen langar" for COVID-19 patients and promises to supply oxygen in its premises to patients till the time they don't find a bed for themselves in 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 at 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," said one Gurpreet Singh, in a viral video informing people about the initiative.
Delhi logged a record 306 COVID-19 deaths and 26,169 cases with a positivity rate of 36.24 per cent, highest since the pandemic began a year ago, on Thursday even as the city hospitals grappled with depleting oxygen supply for the third consecutive day.