Raju Chavan, a visually impaired telephone operator at government-run St George Hospital in Mumbai, was in for a pleasant surprise on Tuesday when he got a call from Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, who complimented him for being a COVID-19 warrior.
Mr Chavan and another physically disabled telephone operator, Sandeep Shinde, have been attending to their job at the hospital with dedication since the last two months without taking a day off during the coronavirus-induced lockdown.
Mr Chavan handles telephone calls during the day, while Mr Shinde works in the night.
Mr Thackeray called up St George Hospital in south Mumbai around 12.30 pm and spoke to Mr Chavan after coming to know about the dedication towards duty displayed by the two workers, especially during these challenging times, according to a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO).
When Mr Thackeray complimented him for his dedication towards work, a humble Mr Chavan gave credit to his seniors and said his contribution was "small".
To which, the chief minister replied "If everyone contributed even a small share, the war against the virus can be won," according to the statement.
"You are doing a great job at a time when hospitals need staff. Despite being a divyang, you are working without taking a day off. This is an inspiration to others, Mr Thackeray told Mr Chavan.
Mr Chavan said due to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of calls to the hospital has increased manifold.
"We do'nt just connect calls, but also cheer up anxious families and relativesand guide them," Mr Chavan told the chief minister during the conversation.
Mr Thackeray said there are countless COVID-19 ''yoddhas'' (warriors) who have come to the help of the needy in such trying times without seeking anything in return, according to the statement.
"Despite coronavirus triggering a health emergency, there are many people who have held on to humanity. I have a lot of respect for such individuals, Mr Thackeray said.