Saturday, May 22, 2021

Covid heroes: How a pilots' group is providing funds and medical supplies to those in need

Bhopal: In April, as state governments across India began imposing lockdowns to contain the second wave of Covid-19, Captain Ankur Suri, an Airbus pilot with Indigo Airlines, based in Ahmedabad, was wondering what he and his colleagues could do to help. That was when Suri’s school friend from Bhopal, Rahul Kothari called him.

Kothari, a state level office bearer with the BJP in Madhya Pradesh, had been helping those in need who were unable to get hospital beds or medicines. Since Suri had announced on the school WhatsApp group that he and his colleagues were looking to financially help to those in need, Kothari took him up on the offer, asking for help in buying oxygen concentrators. Suri posted the call for help on his pilot’s group in Ahmedabad, which has around 120 members. Soon, Rs 1.5 lakh worth of donations had arrived, which allowed Kothari to purchase four concentrators. Kothari’s organisation, Sarokar, now has 40 concentrators which he provides to patients in the critical period during which they are waiting for a hospital bed.

The next call to Suri was from another class mate, Gaurav Pardhi, who was based in the MP’s eastern district of Balaghat. He was helping in the war against Covid in eastern MP’s rural areas by setting up a 15-bed hospital. The pilots’ group, which had by now acquired the name ‘Team Ahmedabad’, chipped in to buy oxygen cylinders and had them delivered to Balaghat. In numerous instances, medications like Remdesivir were also picked up from various parts of the country and delivered to patients in other cities. “When there was an acute shortage of Remdesivir, I found a few vials in a city in Punjab. The medicine was flown in through multiple flights and reached Bhopal the same evening for a school friend,” says Suri.

22/05/21 Rahul Noronha/India Today

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