UNDER FIRE from the family of an Indian patient, who was to be airlifted from Bangkok to Delhi, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Wednesday lamented that she wished she had enough funds to airlift all Indian patients from overseas. An air-ambulance sent by Medanta Hospital to fetch the woman crash-landed near Bangkok earlier this week, killing the pilot and dashing hopes of the family to shift the unwell woman back to India.
While she did not assure any support, Swaraj tweeted, “I receive many requests for Air ambulance from Indian abroad. @RakeshK65554191 wants Rs 23 lakh for air ambulance. I wish I had enough funds to airlift all Indian patients from various countries of the world. Agarwal family have now revised their request and want Rs 26 lakh.”
After she tweeted about the air ambulance crash-landing on Monday night, Gitika, a Bangkok-based woman, had tweeted, “They were the angels who were coming for airlifting our mom. You didn’t do anything for us but they were ready to help.” Gitika is the daughter-in-law of Shashi Agarwal, the 60-year-old patient, who was to be airlifted by the ill-fated air ambulance.
Shashi and her husband have been in Bangkok since mid-December, visiting their son and daughter-in-law, and were scheduled to return in February. However, Shashi fell ill in January. As her condition deteriorated from a case of pneumonia to a serious lung ailment, her family asked for help from the Indian government to airlift her back to India.
Gitika had even tweeted to Swaraj in February, but did not hear from her. Eventually, they contacted Indian hospitals and Gurgaon-based Medanta agreed to airlift Shashi for Rs 23 lakh. The family, which belongs to UP’s Rampur, is hoping that Medanta can airlift Shashi once they tide over the current crisis. “We understand that the hospital is busy. We hope she can be airlifted soon,” Gitika said.