Meet these autorickshaw drivers aiding COVID-patients across India
Even as India is being ravaged by a deadly second wave of COVID-19, brave citizens across the country are stepping up to help patients and their families.
We bring you the stories of some autorickshaw drivers, who are not only ferrying people to and from hospitals but going the extra mile to help fight the second wave.
While ambulances are charging a bomb for their services for the shortest distances, these drivers are helping people free of cost.
Some have even sold prized possessions to continue helping people in need.
Javed Khan, 34, is a Bhopal-based autorickshaw driver who has been trending on the news. He has been helping people by rushing them to the hospital in times of emergency free of cost.
In fact, Javed even sold his wife’s jewellery and converted his auto into an ambulance. He has placed a 7 kg oxygen cylinder inside the autorickshaw, which was gifted by a social activist named Bharti Jain. In addition, many people have also donated to his cause.
The money has been used to buy a pulse oximeter, sanitisers, PPE kits, and other protective equipment, which helps him stay safe on these journeys.
Jitendra Shinde (Image: Twitter)
Kolhapur-based autorickshaw driver Jitendra Shinde has ferried over 1,000 patients with COVID-19 symptoms to the hospital. He began this service last year after the nationwide lockdown was announced by the government in March.
He always wears a PPE kit and most people naturally assume that Jitendra is a COVID-19 patient and steer clear.
While most emergency vehicles are charging an enormous fee, Jitendra ferries people from one place to another for free. He even spent over Rs 1,50,000 to help people and purchased PPE kits with another Rs 5,000.
Representational image (Credit: Pexels)
Ravi Agarwal has been offering free rides to COVID-19 positive patients in Ranchi. He started this initiative after coming across a COVID-19 positive woman who was not being helped by any auto driver.
He even shared his number on social media so more people can reach out to him. In fact, his service is not just limited to COVID positive patients, but to anyone who has a medical emergency. In terms of how he makes ends meet, after dropping a patient at the hospital, he takes a paying passenger on his way back.
Representational image (Credits: Pexels)
An autorickshaw driver in his late 50s, Kumar Tandi is also an HIV positive patient. But he is relentlessly ferrying COVID-19 positive patients in Nuapada, Odisha, to hospitals and testing centres free of cost.
In fact, Kumar purchased his autorickshaw about two years ago to help accident victims and patients. On average, he gets about 10 to 15 calls every day. Apart from the rickshaw, he also runs a grocery shop, which helps his family make ends meet.
Dr. Keshav Kshirsagar and a team of auto drivers are setting up 'jugaad ambulances'. Oxygen cylinders have been installed in three autos for people who are struggling to find hospital beds. The cylinders provide support for about six to seven hours.
The auto drivers are also trained to give oxygen to patients while ensuring absolute safety by wearing PPE kits, and masks along with other hygiene practices.
Delhi-based Raj Munna has his own 'Auto Ambulance' that picks up and drops COVID-19 patients to and from hospitals. The 43-year-old who hails from Bihar has three children to take care of and starts his day at 8 AM and ends at 7 PM.
While he was afraid of the pandemic in the beginning, he is now not only fearlessly ferrying these patients but is also doing it for free-of-cost, according to the post shared on Twitter. In a day, he drops/picks up 2-5 patients in his auto ambulance. The autorickshaw is also fitted with an oxygen cylinder for critical cases.