At a time when several parts of the country are reporting a dire shortage of oxygen supply, a Mumbai man's free oxygen supply scheme is turning out to be a lifesaver for many. Shahnawaz Shaikh sold his SUV last year to start an oxygen supply scheme which today continues to save lives amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Mr Shaikh has become a hero in the narrow lanes of Malvani in Malad with his Unity & Dignity Foundation - and his initiative is being widely praised on social media as well. His story gained attention last year after he sold his Ford Endeavour and used the money to buy oxygen cylinders for those in need.
"Last year when we started, we provided oxygen to 5,000 to 6,000. This year, there is a shortage of oxygen in the city. Where we used to get 50 calls earlier, we now get 500 to 600," Mr Shaikh told NDTV while talking about the Covid situation in Mumbai.
He said his initiative to supply oxygen free to cost to those in need started during the first wave of Covid, when his friend's cousin died of Covid-19. When Mr Shaikh learnt that timely oxygen support could have saved her life, he sold his SUV to buy medicines and oxygen cylinders for Covid patients.
Mr Shaikh's initiative is earning him much praise and respect on social media. "People like Mr.Shahnawaz Sheikh and his team are the real heroes," wrote IFS officer Sudha Ramen.
"Kudos to Shahnawaz Sheikh who is helping #COVID19 patients with oxygen cylinders," said IFS Sitanshu Pandey.
"Earlier, we were not able to work properly due to lack of funding. I thought things like my SUV can be bought again, what is important right now is to help others," Mr Shaikh said to NDTV. "That's why I sold my SUV and certain other things, and that's how we were able to help others."
On Thursday, India recorded the world's biggest surge in Covid cases - 3.14 lakh cases and over 2,000 deaths in a day. Several parts of the country are reporting a shortage of oxygen amid rising cases of COVID-19.Click for more trending news