At a time when arranging two meals a day is becoming difficult for many, two organisations in Punjab’s Ludhiana are standing out with their efforts to help the needy. While one is serving food to Covid patients and migrants every day at the Civil Hospital, the other is saving lives by arranging blood for emergency cases.
The kitchen of Ann Jal Sewa Trust, a charitable organisation in Ludhiana, works 24×7 in the premises of Civil Hospital. With the staff of just around 12 persons including cooks, the organisation is serving nutritious thalis thrice a day to coronavirus patients as well as those awaiting their test reports, at the hospital free of cost. They are also serving others including pregnant women, ASHA workers, Class-IV hospital staff and migrants who are lining up daily for check-ups.
The trust’s president Shiv Ram Saroay (51), who along with wife Usha Saroay has been doing langar sewa at the Civil Hospital for the past decade, says, “Things have become difficult for us too as donations are very low right now but this is the time to stand with the needy and we cannot run away from our responsibility. Sometimes groceries have to be taken on credit or we call for help from our regular donors to send some more wheat or rice.”
Since the initial days of the pandemic, the trust is on a daily basis serving nutritious meals thrice a day to an average 130 people admitted at Civil Hospital, as per the diet plan given by the doctors. At least 250 more people are provided lunch. Children of migrants who come for check-up are also being given milk.
“The diet for Covid patients and those suspected to have gotten infected include tea, bread/rusk, fruits, breakfast thali (parantha, curd), lunch thali (raita, vegetables, chapatis, salad), dinner thali (rice, dal, chapatis, salad) and turmeric milk at night. Also we provide khichdi/porridge to patients who ask for it. Migrants refuse to leave their queue in hospital. Nor do they have money to feed themselves or their children. We given them lunch and milk,” says Saroay.
“We also provide meals at Mother Child Hospital and slum areas when administration calls for help,” he further said.
Saving lives when blood banks are running dry
On April 9, amid the lockdown and coronavirus fear, pregnant Harpal Kaur from Lalton village of Ludhiana was rushed to Noble Hospital for her delivery. The doctors refused to admit her. She needed at least five bottles of rare blood group B negative for her safe delivery and the hospital had no arrangement for the same. Eight days later, on April 17, she delivered a healthy boy at the same hospital.
On the night of April 16, Pinky, whose husband is a labourer, had a miscarriage when she was 45 days pregnant. As she was bleeding profusely, doctors at Krishna Hospital needed at least six bottles of O+ blood. But doctors decided to refer her to Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) as no blood was available. But her treatment wasn’t stopped and she underwent surgical cleaning in the same hospital after blood was arranged.
Bhai Ghanaiya Ji Mission Sewa Society is working 24×7 to arrange blood for emergency cases such as deliveries, heart surgeries, accidents, thalassemia patients among others. The organisation draws its inspiration and is named after Bhai Ghanaiya Ji — a follower of Guru Gobind Singh, who would serve water and aid even to dying and wounded Mughal soldiers on the battlefield.
The organisation is not only arranging donors for emergency cases but also providing regular blood supply to hospitals in Ludhiana by sending 10-12 donors on a daily basis so that blood banks do not run of blood. Volunteers of organisation are also preparing langar (food) for 2,000-5,000 people on a daily basis (as per requirement by district administration) which is served to migrants, rickshaw pullers, homeless and beggars. The food includes nutritious six types of dal, roti, rice, curry and chana.
Head sewadar of the organisation, Taranjit Singh Nimana (47), says, “We cannot organise blood donation camps now as social distancing has to be followed. So we are sending donors to hospitals to fill the gap. We have a list of 40,000-50,000 donors within Ludhiana. Apart from this, there is another list of 300 donors of rare negative blood groups. “