Bhopal, April 30, 2021: Ambulances are hard to find these days in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal city that is grappling with the destructive second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. But Javed Khan is around. The autorickshaw driver has turned his vehicle into a free ambulance service for Covid patients, that too with oxygen support.
Khan who normally earns Rs 200-300 per day, has limited financial resources and says there was a time when he had to sell his wife’s jewellery to keep his benevolent act going.
“I saw on social media and news channels how people were being carried to hospitals due to the shortage of ambulances. So I thought of doing this," he told news agency ANI. “I sold my wife’s jewellery for this. I queue up outside a refill centre and get oxygen. My contact number is available on social media. People can call me up if there’s no ambulance. I’ve been doing this for 15-20 days now and have taken 9 serious patients to hospital."
Javed has been so preoccupied with the service that he says he can hardly make time for his family these days.
Bhopal reported 1,811 fresh Covid-19 cases in a 24-hour period on Thursday, taking the total caseload up to 88,060.
Locals say it is difficult to arrange an ambulance here these days and the ones that are available are often unaffordable with operators jacking up rates.
This prompted Javed Khan, a resident of the Bagh Farhatwaza area, to step forward. The autorickshaw driver has also arranged an oxygen cylinder for his distressed passengers who often need respiratory support.
To keep himself safe from infection, Khan has fixed a plastic sheet as a partition inside the vehicle and also keeps a bottle of hand sanitiser. Instead of picking up the usual passengers, he spends his time these days mostly ferrying Covid patients and also queues up to get his oxygen cylinder refilled.
His kind gesture has brought him much fame in old city areas with locals heaping praises on him. “I firmly believe that there is no better human act than helping people in distress in the times of crisis," said Khan.