BENGALURU: It’s been over a month since Yatish Babu last went home. He’s been working with his friends to supply oxygen cylinders to Covid patients all over the city. Early in April, at the insistence of his loved ones, he procured two cylinders. But soon, it was evident that the virus was making it difficult for people to breathe and oxygen supplies were stretched. By the last week of April, he and his friends began to procure cylinders and supply them to patients at their homes free of charge.
Each day for the past month, he has received 8-10 requests a day, and has supplied cylinders to 250 people. “We managed to procure 18- 20 cylinders from industries and friends with different storage capacity. Some can store 10 litres, 47 litres, and seven litres. We give the cylinders to patients and take it back when they get better, refill it and give it to others,” says the 47-yearold. He got some cylinders from friends in Mysuru and some from Peenya Industrial Gases Pvt Limited.
Babu, who works as a private consultant, and his friends Vijay S, Praveen Gowda, Krishna Sagar, and Basavaraju have been living in a hotel for the past month or so as to avoid putting their families at risk. “I have not been able to talk to them these days. I have dedicated myself to working on the ground,” says Babu. Babu says he has spent around `5-6 lakh to fund oxygen supplies. He has signed up with crowdsourcing platform Milaap, but his account is yet to be activated. “For now I am managing with my own money. I have also taken a loan from a bank,” says Babu.
Last year, during the lockdown, Babu had travelled over 10,000km on a two-wheeler with his friend to supply medicines to people in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and also within Karnataka. “My team and I have managed to help not just people diagnosed with Covid, but also people suffering from cancer, heart ailments, and those needing dialysis,” Babu says.