Jharkhand man drives 1,200 km in 15 hours with oxygen cylinders for Covid-infected friend 

Devendra Kumar Rai travelled non-stop by car, lent by another friend, and succeeded in bringing the oxygen right on time before the only cylinder available with his friend was about to finish.

Published: 30th April 2021 07:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st May 2021 10:12 PM   |  A+A-

Rajan is recovering very fast and said to be out of danger now. (Photo | Special arrangement)

Express News Service

RANCHI: In a rare example of the famous saying, 'a friend in need, is a friend indeed', a man traveled from Ranchi to Noida to make oxygen cylinders available for his ailing childhood friend who had tested Covid positive and left with oxygen supply of only 10 hours. 

Devendra Kumar Rai, 34, travelled over 1,200 kilometers non-stop by car, lent by another friend, and succeeded in bringing the oxygen right on time before the only cylinder available with his friend was about to finish.

Sachin Kumar Singh, for whom Devendra Kumar Rai, who is associated with Canara Bank in Ranchi, covered 1,200 km in merely 15 hours, is recovering very fast and said to be out of danger now.

According to Rai, at around 1 am on April 25, he received a call from Sanjay Saxena, who happened to be a local guardian during his stay in Noida with his friend Sahi a few years ago. Saxena informed that his friend Rajan urgently needed oxygen as he had been tested positive for Covid.

“Sanjay Bhaiya told me that due to an acute shortage of oxygen in Delhi-NCR, they are unable to procure oxygen cylinders for him. He further said that oxygen supply of only 10 hours has been left with them and if another cylinder of oxygen is not arranged, anything may happen,” said Rai. 

Devendra left for Bokaro on his bike without giving a second thought with an impression that he will manage one from there as Steel Authority of India manufactures a lot of oxygen, he added.

After running from pillar to post for the entire night, Rai somehow managed to get two cylinders in the afternoon from a contact running an oxygen plant in Bokaro. After arranging cylinders, the problem was how to transport them to Noida, which is over 1,200 km.

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“At around 3 pm on Sunday, another friend Vikas Chandra Nayak, who also lives in Ranchi, asked his parents in Bokaro to lend their car to me and I started my journey with Sachin’s brother,” said Rai.  After driving non-stop for 15 hours, he reached Noida at around 5:30 next evening, when the oxygen cylinder on which Sachin was put on, was about to get over, he added.

“Immediately the cylinder was changed and over the period of time Sachin started recovering and is said to be out of danger now,” said Rai. He is still in Noida to look after his friend, he added.

When asked how it came to his mind to drive such a long distance to bring oxygen cylinders for his friend as it was quite a risky affair, Rai said: “We were already in shock due to the loss of another common friend Sanjeev Suman who died of Covid recently. And even the thought of losing another friend with whom I had spent most of my life was beyond imagination. Hence, I decided to drive to Noida even without informing my parents in Bokaro,” said Rai. 

Not finding a bed for him at any of the private or government hospitals, Rajan along with his six-month pregnant wife moved into the house of the local guardian Sanjay Saxena and got himself isolated under medical guidance, he added.

Though Rajan was not able to speak properly due to infection, he claimed that he is alive just because of his friend as he turned to be a savior for him when he had lost all hopes of being alive.

“I am alive today just because of Devendra. Had he not came with the oxygen cylinders, I would definitely have died. I am proud to have a friend like him and pray to God that everybody should have one like Devendra," he added.


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