My home Alipur, a district village located 70 km away from Bengaluru in Karnataka, has emerged as a beacon of impeccable communal unity. Locals here managed to set up a COVID-care unit all by themselves, without any government help.
“We don’t see any sect. We welcome all people – whether they are Muslims, Hindus, or Christians.”Hashim Raza, President of Alipur Panchayat
The second wave has sparked unprecedented fear among the people of my village, who have no access to basic healthcare facilities. One needs no introduction to the massive scale of untold miseries and suffering this pandemic has unleashed in the country. But to save its people, Alipur residents joined hands to construct a new COVID-care centre.
I wondered why they would sign up for a such a tough task in such times and I visited the village to know more.
“We had serious issues in finding a bed in Bengaluru city for five of our residents. Unfortunately, all of them lost their lives to COVID-19.”A local
I could see her face dim as she narrated the ordeal while explaining how this unfortunate incident motivated the residents to build their own COVID-care facility.
The residents registered their grievances with the village president, who then consulted with others and soon a sum of Rs 20 lakh was sourced via people's generous contributions. The authorities, including Alipur’s Panchayat President Hashim Raza (Anjuman-e-Jafria), the Sajjadiya Welfare Trust team, intellectuals, doctors and ulemas of Alipur discussed the specifics on a WhatsApp group and had a few video calls. They used the fund to procure basic medical-care facilities to accommodate at least 30 patients. With an initial arrangement of 30 beds, transport, and prescription medicines, they built a full-fledged COVID-care centre within 10 days.
Aspirations of our people and donations helped us set up the IK Covid Centre of Alipur.
Responsible Citizenship Amid the Second Wave
With India becoming the worst-affected nation, its states are one by one losing count of its dead and even worse is the condition of the rural populace. It is this dire situation that prompted Alipur’s residents to make the village a hub of responsible citizenship.
The increase in positivity rates in Bengaluru is more frightening, which compelled its residents – both near and far – to step out of their comfort zones and provide COVID aid.
Currently, the IK Centre is housing 15 COVID patients who are being treated by the village doctors. A few patients, who had recovered, were sent home.
Presently, there are 10 doctors. Out of them, two are available on a 24×7. There are four nurses, additional visiting doctors and volunteers from among the village's youth and a team of Sajjadiya Welfare Trust that arranges for supplies like oxygen, medicines, food and equipment.
On asking about the government’s visiting staff, I was informed that around 10 doctors from Alipur village, who work in Bengaluru, had responded to calls for this endeavour and agreed to visit the IK Centre from the city every alternate day until we find permanent staffers. Alipur’s youth have also geared up as ‘COVID warriors’ and are extending aid in terms of logistics, transport, delivery, and other requirements. I was told that the in the city, more nurses and doctors are needed for round-the-clock duty.
One of them said, “Since it’s my hometown, I shall extend all possible help rather than see people of my village die due to lack of beds in Bengaluru.”
“We will help in whatever capacity possible because in unity lies our strength.”A village youth
Seeking Government Help
The town has been facing a huge scarcity of prescription medicines and non-availability of beds. Karnataka is the second-worst affected state in India in terms of COVID caseload.
Although the state government had promised to set up COVID centres and emergency handling units across urban and rural areas during the first wave, Alipur has been pleading for government support to beef up its medical system to no avail.
The centre has 30 beds, five oxygen concentrators, one NIV (non-invasive ventilation) portable machine, and a few oxygen cylinders that require refilling from time to time. Maulana Mahfooz Abedi added that if the situation gets worse, there are plans to set up an oxygen plant in the village.
“We hope for the best and at the same time are prepared for the worst.”Nakeer Raza Syed, Director of Noble School, Alipur
Syed ensured that if cases increase in Alipur, the management would be fully prepared to tackle the emergency. Noble School is ready to convert all school buses into ambulances, as well as an academic block into an isolation centre for patients.
IK Centre has issued an official request to the government of Karnataka for allocation of basic healthcare facilities, which are absent in the village. The request also extends to the provision of vaccines and Remdesivir for the district that can save many lives at the small facility.
At a time when public grievances are left unaddressed by the government and ignored by mainstream media, citizens have come forth to fulfill their duties towards the nation better than those directly elected to do so. My hometown has set an example, but it may not be the only one.
(Majeed Raza hails from Alipur. All ‘My Report' branded stories are submitted by citizen journalists to The Quint. Though The Quint inquires into the claims/allegations from all parties before publishing, the report and the views expressed above are the citizen journalist's own. The Quint neither endorses, nor is responsible for the same.)