CHANDIGARH: Help is at hand for those facing a severe shortage of medical oxygen in the national capital: 'oxygen langars' have come up at four places - Fateh Diwas Park opposite Pacific Mall at Tagore Garden, GK-1 Gurdwara, Rajouri Garden gurdwara and at Kirti Nagar. The 'langars' also help in arranging beds for COVID patients.
Manpreet Singh, a volunteer of NGO Voice of Voiceless, said, "We are serving a free oxygen drive thru at Tagore Garden in west Delhi. We offer free oxygen to around 300 people daily. The 'langar' begins around 11.30 am and works for around 12 hours because by then the cylinders finish."
During the day, the 'langar' gets some 50 people. The rush starts to build in the evening when patients' families desperately looking for oxygen have exhausted all other options.
Each patient gets oxygen depending on one’s condition - in some cases, it is required for only half-an-hour, for others, it could be needed for a couple of hours. Some patients sit in their cars and wait their turn while others are made to lie down on beds.
"We request them that once their oxygen level is normal, they should leave as there are many others in the queue," says Manpreet.
He says the parking area can accommodate around 70 vehicles, so it is also being used for keeping 15 beds. "We give paper slips to patients so that they get oxygen as per their turn and need. The chain runs smoothly. All are equal before us – we go by the condition of the patients," he says.
Singh says the 'langar' gets around 30 oxygen cylinders. "If the supply doubles, we can serve around 600 people daily 24x7," he adds.
He says the NGO spends around Rs 80,000 per day on oxygen as it is available at prices ranging between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 per cylinder. "There are sellers who charge only Rs 500. But we offer oxygen free of cost. We have now placed an order of 40 industrial oxygen concentrators. We'll get them in a couple of days and then we'll be able to serve more people. Each concentrator costs us Rs 80,000," Singh says.
The 'langar' at GK-1 gurdwara began operation on Thursday under supervision of Manjit Singh GK, former president of Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee.
"The committee has decided to refill small oxygen cylinders of 5-7 kg. Today we re-filled some 200 cylinders. We are buying oxygen cylinders at high prices, but the cost does not matter if it is the question of saving humanity," says Manjit GK.
At Rajouri Garden Langar, oxygen cylinders are re-filled and small cylinders are given. Same is the scene at the drive thru 'langar' by another NGO at Kirti Nagar.