Agra’s ‘good Samaritans’ extend help to reduce Covid-19 agony

Not deterred by “sarkari” gaps and flaws in the Covid-19 containment strategy, a large number of volunteers and philanthropists in the Taj city have been extending a variety of services to comfort victims and their family members.

From temple trusts to gurdwaras and NGOs, all have been doing commendable service in the last fortnight to ease the tensions and fill in the gaps in services.

On Tuesday, shoe exporters association AFMEC opened its 250-bed hospital with adequate medi-infrastructure. Pooran Dawar, the chief inspiration behind the ambitious project, said: “We have managed to put together a full package of facilities backed up by trained staff of doctors and nurses, at our facility in village Seenghna, on the national highway. If there is need, we will add more beds. No one should go without medical help.”

A few days ago, the 130-year-old Kshetra Bajaaj Samiti, that runs the Taj Ganj electric and the conventional crematoriums, opened a facility for Covid-19 patients at the Nemi Chand Homeopathy Hospital on the Agra-Firozabad road.

Ashok Goyal, the Samiti’s chief functionary, also organised a day-long Yagna at the Shamshan Ghat to appease Lord Shiva.

The Samiti has a fleet of vehicles to transport dead bodies to the crematoriums. Arrangement for Ganga water is also made for thebodies, along with provision of wood at fair cost. Due to the pressure, the electric crematorium run by the organisation had recently to add one more furnace.

The Help Agra pharmacy near the SN Medical College has been providing all kinds of medicines at fixed rates. Pharmacy’s Gautam Seth said: “It is our constant endeavour to provide medicines and other related material at reasonable rates, much lower than the market rates. The Covid-19 kit of medicines is available for a very reasonable cost. Since alternatives are available, there is no shortage of medicines and people are taking advantage of the services.”

Several groups are running ambulances at government’s fixed rates, while more than dozen societies and individuals are offering free food. Some people are providing home delivery of food to Covid-19 patients under home isolation.

A number of WhatsApp groups have come up to keep tab on oxygen supply and arrange for cylinders, said social activist Naresh Paras.

“Anybody who can do anything, according to his capacity, is coming forward and doing his bit. Of course, there is a lot of negativity all around, but we should not forget the commendable work being done by voluntary groups in the city,” said another social activist Ranjan Sharma.

Meanwhile, Pandit Jugal Kishore of the River Connect Campaign has appealed to the Agra Municipal Corporation to make arrangements for feeding monkeys, stray dogs, cows and birds. Due to the lockdown, people were not coming forward to feed birds and animals who are dying of starvation and also turning violent and aggressive.