May 6, 2021 8:54:02 pm
As Covid patients across various states gasp for breath, running pillar to post in search of ventilators and oxygen, Punjab Gurdwaras — under Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) — have decided to open their hearts and doors.
The gurdwaras have come up with a novel concept, called ‘oxygen langar’, where oxygen beds will be provided to Covid patients in need.
The first such 25-bed ‘oxygen langar’ was opened in the hall of Gurdwara Manji Sahib in Alamgir village of Ludhiana on Thursday.
“More such hospitals will be opened in gurdwara premises of Takht Damdama Sahib, Talwandi Sabo in Bathinda, Anandpur Sahib Gurdwara, Motibagh Gurdwara in Patiala and in Gurdwara of Bholath in the coming week. Oxygen is the most sought-after thing these days, and we are providing it as ‘oxygen langar’ to patients,” said Bibi Jagir Kaur, president of SGPC, while talking with the mediapersons on Thursday evening at Alamgir Gurdwara.
The Covid ward at the Alamgir Gurdwara will cater to level 1 and level 2 Covid patients with each bed being equipped with oxygen concentrators. The SGPC president also announced that one fully equipped ambulance will be stationed at all the Covid Care Centres, to deal with emergencies.
On Thursday, the facility, witnessed a huge rush soon after its inauguration, with dozens of people — including Gurdwara management officials, medical staff and even SAD supporters standing close to each other, flouting all social distancing norms. The medical staff of the facility wore PPE kits and almost everyone present inside the ward wore a mask.
“We have purchased 200 oxygen concentrators which are lying in California, and 60 are stuck in New Zealand. Around 100 concentrators purchased from Russia have come but are yet to be cleared by customs .. SGPC is trying hard to serve people in this difficult time. It is our responsibility to serve those in need and hence, we are opening the doors of our Gurdwaras for patients. The halls or shrines of Gurdwaras are also being converted into Covid wards where patients will be given free treatment.”
Officials said that the staff of Guru Ram Das Medical University, Amritsar, which is under SGPC, will be managing the Covid wards at all the Gurdwaras.
Kaur said that once more consignment of concentrators arrive in Punjab, the bed capacity in Covid wards of Gurdwaras will be increased for level 1 and level 2 Covid patients. All level 3 patients, however, will compulsorily be shifted to tertiary care hospitals.
Officials also said that Guru Ram Das Medical University was soon going to start liquid medical oxygen (LMO) generating plant for which they had also purchased generators costing Rs 2 crore. “We appeal to all NRIs to help us in this hour and support SGPC as much as you can so that we can provide free treatment to people ,” said Kaur. She added that both the state as well as Central governments were creating panic.
SAD lauds humanitarian cause taken up by gurdwaras
Congratulating the SGPC for taking up the humanitarian cause, SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal said this was the need of the hour and the Gurdwaras had risen to the occasion to perform this ‘sewa’.
Issuing a video message, the SAD president said he was informed that the SGPC was importing hundreds of oxygen concentrators from different countries to save the lives of Punjabis during this crisis. He also appealed to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh to intensify life-saving efforts and arrange 5,000 oxygen concentrators as well as 50 lakh vaccine for the people of the state.
The SAD president also urged the chief minister to put in place systems to check overcharging of patients in private hospitals. He said he was getting numerous calls from different parts of the state mentioning that treatment in private hospitals was costing anything between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. He asked the CM to fix the charges of medical care and also take the initiative to subsidise treatment expenses from state funds.
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