THE OXY WARRIORS
India Today|May 31, 2021
A QUICK-THINKING SOCIAL HELP GROUP BEAT SHORTAGES TO RUN AN INNOVATIVE LANGAR SUPPLYING FREE MEDICAL OXYGEN
BANDEEP SINGH

KHALSA HELP INTERNATIONAL, NGO, Ghaziabad, founded in 2020

What it has done Provided medical oxygen for free to thousands of Covid patients

ON THE NIGHT OF APRIL 22, Gurpreet Singh Rummy, along with four fellow social workers, stood outside the Shri Guru Singh Sabha Gurudwara in Indirapuram, Ghaziabad, the streets around him a dystopian nightmare of death and helplessness. The 49-year-old president of Khalsa Help International (KHI), a social help group formed during the Covid lockdown in March 2020, was attempting to administer medical oxygen to a 55-year-old semi-conscious woman whose oxygen saturation level had dipped to 56 per cent. Reviving the woman not only meant they had saved a life, but also that they were one step ahead in putting into action an audacious plan to distribute free oxygen among Covid-19 patients right on the road.

15,000 APPROX. NUMBER OF PATIENTS REVIVED BY KHI BETWEEN APR. 23 AND MAY 14, 2021

1,800 NO. OF PEOPLE RAI HAS DELIVERED OXYGEN CYLINDERS TO; 500-ODD SO FAR IN COVID SECOND WAVE

It was something they had been planning for a week after watching hospitals turn away patients wheezing from lack of oxygen. With a prayer muttered under their breath, they administered the medical oxygen and after a tense 45 minutes, as her oxygen level hit 90 per cent, their confidence level shot to a 100. They posted a video of the incident on Facebook and by next morning, over a 100 vehicles with Covid patients in need of medical oxygen had lined up outside the gurudwara. Armed with 12 large oxygen cylinders, the 90-odd KHI volunteers got to work.

The challenge was to maintain a regular supply of oxygen. For this, the KHI reached out to oxygen plants located as far as in Baddi in Himachal Pradesh, Haridwar in Uttarakhand, Jaipur in Rajasthan and Ludhiana and Rupnagar in Punjab. Vehicles moved round the clock to ensure timely refilling and subsequent delivery of oxygen cylinders to the gurudwara, sometimes reaching the volunteers literally minutes before supply ran out. “Unlike with food there was no scope of delay here,” says Rummy. “Lives hinged on it. There was tremendous risk involved.”

Within two days, the daily number of patients coming to the gurudwara began to exceed 400. KHI volunteers, improvising on the go, began using plumbing pipes to administer oxygen to 10-16 people simultaneously from one cylinder. Around 30 beds were set up within the gurudwara to aid the KHI’s efforts.

The langar continued till May 14. According to KHI, they helped revive around 15,000 Covid patients in those 22 days. Of these, nearly 7,000 had arrived with their Oxygen levels as low as 50 to 60 per cent. The oxygen langar has now been shifted to the Krishna Dental College in Mohan Nagar, Ghaziabad.

With the virus spreading in rural areas, KHI is also setting up an oxygen langar in Kashipur, Uttar Pradesh, to maximise their reach and take their services to where it is needed most.

GAURAV RAI, 51, Patna’s ‘Oxygen Man’

What he has done Deliver free oxygen cylinders at the doorstep of Covid patients

UNLIKE WITH FOOD THERE WAS NO SCOPE OF DELAY HERE [IN SUPPLY OF MEDICAL OXYGEN]. LIVES HINGED ON IT - GURPREET SINGH RUMMY President, Khalsa Help International

COMING UP FOR AIR

IN THE BIHAR CAPITAL, ONE MAN STRIVES TO GET OXYGEN CYLINDERS TO VICTIMS BREATHLESS FROM COVID

BY AMITABH SRIVASTAVA

HAVING SUFFERED MYSELF, I KNOW WHAT GASPING FOR AIR MEANS. AND SEEING SOMEONE RECOVER, THE RELIEF ON HIS FACE AND THAT OF HIS FAMILY, IT’S LIKE A GIFT FROM GOD — GAURAV RAI

ON APRIL 8, WHEN AMIT SANYAL saw his oxygen levels falling, he dialed Gaurav Rai for help. Rai wasn’t a friend but Sanyal knew the person they call Patna’s ‘Oxygen Man’ was his best hope. The next day, even as Sanyal’s oxygen level plummeted below 90, Rai walked in with a cylinder. “He entered my room without any fear about getting infected, fixed me with a mask and a 10-litre cylinder and also gave me a pep talk,” Sanyal recalls. A day later, Rai delivered a cylinder for Sanyal’s mother who was also Covid-infected. Sanyal says he owes his life to Rai’s timely help.

Rai, 51, is general manager at a company in the Bihar capital that manufactures high-security number plates. Gaurav discovered the philanthropist in himself last July after he got the virus. As he gasped for breath, his wife struggled to arrange an oxygen cylinder for him. After he recovered, Gaurav and wife Aruna decided to pool their savings to buy 10 oxygen cylinders. As cases spiked, their doorstep delivery service was much in demand. Determined not to stop the service, the couple purchased more cylinders.

It has been a tireless process. From loading the cylinder in his Wagon R car, putting the patient on oxygen, getting the cylinder back when the patient recovers, refilling it and then taking it to someone else in need. He has not taken a day off since the second wave began.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM INDIA TODAYView All

BJP's Mission 2022

The BJP high command hones its electoral strategy for key polls in uttar pradesh and other states to overcome antiincumbency and the health and economic challenges resulting from the pandemic

10+ mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

Omicron Threat..How Serious?

COVID-19

5 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

Raining On India's Crypto Parade?

Cryptocurrency Bill

3 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

“THE BJP IS NEVER COMPLACENT. WE HAVE TAKEN ALL STEPS TO WIN IN 2022”

After holding an hour-long video conference with state party leaders on December 1, Bharatiya Janata Party president J.P. Nadda sat down for an exclusive interview with Raj Chengappa, Group Editorial Director (Publishing) and Anilesh S. Mahajan, Senior Editor, at his Delhi residence, in which he discussed his party’s prospects and the challenges it faces in 2022. Excerpts:

6 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

Q+ A THE MASTER AS CHEF

Nobel Laureate ABHIJIT BANERJEE takes his cooking as seriously as he does economics. Cooking to Save Your Life, his new book of recipes, reads like a long list of awards anyone can win if they put food first

2 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

LEADING LADY

Falguni Nayar, founder and CEO of Nykaa, is redefining the language of beauty in India. After a bumper IPO, India’s first woman-led unicorn to have gone public is preparing to expand across categories. What the queen of beauty needs to watch out for as she takes the next big step

9 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

“I AM STILL HERE”

EVEN AS RAVEENA TANDON RETURNS TO OUR SCREENS WITH ARANYAK, SHE INSISTS SHE HAD NEVER LEFT

3 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

EYEING A RETURN TICKET?

PARAM BIR SINGH

5 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

THIS ROUND TO THE MEN IN KHAKI

IAS VS IPS

4 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021

THE RACE TO THE BOTTOM

Indian scientists begin an ambitious project to explore the seabed. Inside India’s Deep Ocean Mission to extract resources from the seabed

6 mins read
India Today
December 13, 2021
RELATED STORIES

Expect Delays

One factory’s logistics show the cost to businesses of strained U.S. infrastructure

7 mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
August 09 - 16, 2021 (Double Issue)

Last days of the Rainforest

The Brazilian Amazon is approaching the point of no return, and the government is fanning the flames

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Businessweek
August 02, 2021

How Many Union Members Does It Take To Operate A Train?

President Joe Biden’s proposed $2.25 trillion infrastructure spending bill is more than just a huge barrel of federal cash for road, bridge, and rail projects. It is also a vehicle for reauthorizing America’s surface transportation laws, providing an opportunity for special interests to write new rules and mandates into federal policy.

3 mins read
Reason magazine
August - September 2021

The World Of Raised By Wolves

A behind-the-scenes look at director Ridley’s Scott’s HBO Max sci-fi series

10+ mins read
Sound & Vision
February - March 2021

SIM SETTLEMENTS 2

Tune up Fallout 4’s settlement system.

6 mins read
PC Gamer US Edition
March 2021

WHAT THEY'RE SAYING

Starting Tackle Kolton Miller is entering the final year of his rookie contract.

3 mins read
Silver & Black Illustrated
February - March 2021

Wanted: Defensive coordinator

The Raiders didn’t wait long to begin their search for a new defensive coordinator, and it’s becoming clear that Jon Gruden has already narrowed his list down.

6 mins read
Silver & Black Illustrated
February - March 2021

Raiders' good, bad, ugly

Raiders’ good, bad, ugly

3 mins read
Silver & Black Illustrated
February - March 2021

NEWS & NOTES

The Raiders had one of the easier schedules in 2020 and got only eight wins to show for it. Things won’t get any easier in 2021, either.

3 mins read
Silver & Black Illustrated
February - March 2021

Looking back at 2020 season

The 2020 season will absolutely be remembered for being one of the strangest and most disappointing in franchise history.

6 mins read
Silver & Black Illustrated
February - March 2021